Thursday 22 December 2016

Making Progress...

As I'm writing this post, my 14 year old son is on the floor in front of me working on the exercises set by his physiotherapist. He works hard at these exercises every day as they help strengthen his left leg. Last Easter, he came down with a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in his left leg, and he wasn't able to walk, wear shoes, or even go to school! He has worked really hard and about six weeks ago, left the crutches behind to attend a new school. His hard work has really paid off.

During the time he has been unwell, there has been steady progress in his health, but there have also been setbacks. He didn't let these setbacks stop him. If they had, he wouldn't be walking right now.

While living through his journey, it's easy to get caught up in how hard it is. He was having at least three rehab appointments every week at one stage, along with juggling Distance Education, his brother at school part time, and work! But now, watching him do his exercises, we can reflect on how far he has come, even though there is still a long way to go.

This may not seem like it has much to do with writing, but it does!

Every story we write and publish is a journey, and it can be long and hard, and there are setbacks. These could be in the form of writer's block, rejections from publishers, feelings of doubt, or even simply life knocking us off course. In spite of the setbacks, we work at our writing, editing, publishing, and promotion to get our stories written and out there.

When we're in the middle of the journey, there are times when we can feel like giving up and forgetting about our writing dreams, however, if we keep going, we will get there.

Along the way, it helps to sit back and reflect on how far we've come. It could be looking at the number of manuscripts we've written, submissions made, books published, or anything else that's we've achieved. This doesn't mean the journey is over, it just means we are well on our way.

So, while I'm watching my son do his exercises and reflecting on how far he has come, I can see a box containing copies of books with my name on the cover that reminds me how far I have come in my writing journey. The effort he puts in and the differences in the strength of his legs show how far he has to go, just as the half-finished manuscripts on my computer and drafts floating around the house show me how far I have to go in my writing journey.

Every day, my son amazes me with his progress and I have to keep reminding myself that only a couple of months ago he couldn't walk.

Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne with her two teenage sons and their pet blue tongue lizard. During the day, she works as the business manager of the family business, and at night she writes children's chapter books.

Follow her writing journey at and


  1. Hi Melissa,
    That's a wonderful analogy. Congratulations to your son, for his own personal progress. What a champion. It's very true, and I can see why watching him at work has become so inspiring for you, when it comes to your writing. I hope you both progress even further in 2017.

  2. Thanks Melissa, for sharing your heart. God bless you and your family ❤

  3. Well done for your son for working so hard to recover. A great analogy and encouragement for writers - and a reminder that stories too have their ups & downs, their challenges and setbacks. Wishing your son a full recovery.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experiences and reminding us that the wonderful potential of the road ahead is reachable if we keep pressing forward. Set backs and slow progress are discouraging and we need gentle, positive nudges like the one you have given to help us maintain momentum. As I thought about this, a picture came to my mind of a compass. Depending on how we hold it, that little arrow can spin wildly, but it always returns to the direction of its calling, magnetically drawn towards true north. Reminds me to steel myself (pun intended) to constantly hone in on my creative calling and Caller. Great post Melissa.

  5. Some of those experiences - at least the feelings relating to them, can enhance your characters some time in the future.
    Congratulations to both of you on your progress.