Written by Charlie Leal | 2015
Q: I love to tell stories, to draw, write and be creative. I have a good idea but what do I do with it?
A: Turn it into a great idea!
Q: I know where I want to be but I have no idea how to get there?
A: Answer: The key to achieving any dream lies in the commitment and steps taken to make it a reality.
Creativity, storytelling in this case, is dependent upon two important things, vision and commitment.
Elementary school teacher as well as singer and songwriter Jennifer Hopson had the inner workings of a successful author but was completely unaware, that is, until her writing talents finally caught up and took her by storm.
Jennifer recalls grabbing pen and paper on impulse to capture what seemed to be a simple storyline for a children’s book, but her epiphany resulted in her first book in less than two hours. Pookie and the Lost Shoe sparked an influential and inspirational educational book series that has since branched into live action performance and soon television.
The question we are all wondering is, how did she get from concept to completion so quickly? What advice would she give to other first-time authors?
It's not what you study; it’s your passion. Jennifer was a journalism / multimedia communications major, but it was her passion for writing songs that set the foundation for writing books themselves. Combined with love for working with children as a teacher, Jennifer had a natural feel for what kids like, what they find exciting in books; and what colors, characters, and stories capture and maintain their attention. It appears then, that the best teachers can also become the best students.
Your passion is a compass to your purpose. As an educator, Jennifer knows that reading with others increases effective learning and level of interest in any story. In order to continue the classroom learning dynamics after school, she intended for Pookie and the Lost Shoe to act as both an entertaining story and a valuable teaching tool that brings parents and children together. Jennifer also points out that her books speak directly to the parents themselves as well: “We can grow together.” Even with the success of her published work and teaching methods, Jennifer’s greatest satisfaction ultimately still comes from achieving a greater purpose: motivating kids and bringing families together.
Perseverance: keeping the candle lit. Jennifer never stops teaching even after the bell rings, and her most important lesson for first-time authors relates to the challenges not only in keeping your original vision alive, but also intact.
“Protect your vision through this journey. Do not compromise the message. What you have to say is important for your audience to hear.”
Another key aspect in keeping your momentum relates to an awareness of your periphery: “Always surround yourself with a healthy support structure; people that you trust to be honest.” The key to achieving any dream lies in the commitment and steps taken to make it a reality. When asked, “What was it like holding your first printed, bound and color filled book in your hands?” Jennifer exclaimed in an exuberant tone, “AMAZING! There’s life in the book…it was a success, for no other reason than, I saw it through to completion.”
We share Jennifer’s encouragement and wish to remind you, there are important stories that need to be told. Each person has a verse to contribute, a tale to author; it can inspire others to do the same. We invite you to grab a pen and a piece of paper. Tell us your story and take your time…we’d love to hear what you have to say.