Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Little Engine That Could.. A Story of Hope

by Christine Bush

One of my all time favorite children’s  stories is Wally Piper’s The Little Engine That Could.  I work a lot with children, and find it’s a great example of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
 Every time I share this story, I cheer for the little clown who won’t give up on the quest to get the toys over the mountain to the good little boys and girls on the other side.  He never gives up hope.  I think I can. I think I can.

Persevere.  Keep on truckin’.  Dare to do what you think you cannot do.  The power of positive thinking. Never give up. There’s more than one way to skin a cat (ew!). 
You get the idea.  It’s a good lesson.  But it’s not just a lesson for children.  It’s a good lesson for everyone who has a dream and a goal. It’s especially relevant for writers.

To me, it’s about the power of hope.  That hope keeps me chugging on toward my dreams.
It doesn’t matter how many books I have written. Each time I sit down and face the blank page, the new story, there is a mountain to climb.  Each time the plot takes a twist, or a character just won’t do or say what my original synopsis planned, it’s a challenge to get over that mountain.  Every time that my story gets stalled, because “life” gets in the way, that mountain can seem like Mount Everest.   My little writing engine can get off track with demands from the day job, family responsibility, health issues, or just life events.  I think I can. I think I can.
All of these challenges can seem like those negative engines who came by the little train travelers, and told them why they couldn’t get over the mountain.  I think I can. I think I can.

But the lesson I’ve learned is that there IS a way over the mountain, a way to fulfill our dreams and to tell our stories.  Our characters in our romances also exemplify this hope, overcoming their conflicts and differences and embracing love.
The trick is to keep trying until we find the way that works.  And to never give up hope.
What helps you get your “train” over the mountain?  How to you keep rooted in hope when it comes to your dreams?

Christine Bush is the award winning author of many books and novellas of sweet romance and light mystery. She also writes Middle Grade Fiction. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working with clients as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or teaching Psychology at a local college.  She lives with her family and two crazy cats in northeastern Pennsylvania, and loves to hear from readers and aspiring writers.


  1. Agree, Christine, the arts is one part of life where you really do have to think like that, because rejection/defeat/failure can be just around the corner. That's where indie pubbing has saved the sanity of so many writer friends - life is filled with possibility now compared with the old days of just submitting to traditional publishers. There are still massive hills and mountains to climb but oh my gosh, the world is now a very different and a very exciting place to be in as an author.

  2. Ah, Christine. This is such great advice. I've written far too many books and I always get through half the first draft and wonder if I know what I'm doing. It's just one word at a time, chugging toward the finish.

  3. Thanks for the reminder to keep chugging and plugging away. I love this book, too. The reason it's a classic is because it tells a timeless message of hope and perseverance.

  4. Nice post! We all need to remember to keep on keeping on.

  5. Such an excellent message and a good reminder not to allow discouragement to stall you, but to use it as empowerment. Thanks for an interesting blog post!

  6. My engine got derailed recently with all the obligations I have outside my writing. I finally had to set aside the word count goal that kept popping up on my reminders app and say "Just 1000 words today." 1k is easy to do, and it got the story moving again so I can get back to a high word count.

  7. Thank you Christine I have applied "I think I can" to many areas of my life and I am slapping my forehead for not thinking of it in my writing. Now I will, one word at a time.

  8. Thanks for the inspirational post. I think we all go through this!