Jayme Woods

Writer. Geek. Adventurer.


Happy Father’s Day!

Fun fact: I love sports movies. I live for that moment near the end, the darkest moment, the moment when it looks like Goliath is about to stomp on little David. Why? Because that’s when the coach steps up, puts on his big boy shorts, and delivers a speech that rouses the team and leaves entire theaters (okay, just me) in tears.

Those coaches have something in common.

They’ve got nothing on my dad.

That’s right, when it comes to motivational speeches my dad is, simply put, the man. His speeches have gotten me through school drama, boy drama, life drama, and pretty much everything in between.

If there’s one thing my dad’s taught me, it’s to believe in my dreams. Any time I start to doubt this whole writing thing, he reminds me that wasting time worrying is, well, a waste of time. He advises me 99% of success is working harder and longer than anyone else. And, when he says he believes in me, it’s not just words – he really means it. Even after all the horrible first drafts he’s had to endure (and, let’s be real, horrible second, third, and fourth drafts), even after all the rejection letters, he’s never stopped encouraging me. Not once.

Most importantly, if I’m ever frustrated, he reminds me why I write. It’s not for fame or fortune. As awesome as it would be (like really, really awesome), it’s not even about getting published, not really. To paraphrase The Little Giants: I write because I want to. I write because it’s fun.

So thanks, Dad, for reminding me it isn’t whether you win or lose, not in sports, and not in life. It’s how you play the game. That means picking yourself up as often as you have to and doing it with a smile. It means, if you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says. You’re already a winner.

To everyone out there chasing their dream, if you’re maybe feeling a little beaten up, if the clock is ticking down and you feel hopelessly behind, remember: In this lifetime you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody. Except yourself. Even if the world beats you 99 times out of 100, that still leaves one time. Your time. So go out there and take it! I know I’m going to.

Right after I go hug my dad.

P.S. Ten coolness points if you can identify all the sports movie references in that last bit. 🙂


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Happy Mother’s Day!

When you look up “awesome” in the dictionary, you find a picture of my mom. I know this because, when I was about seven, I copied my children’s dictionary from cover to cover, including the pictures, and my mom never called me a freak, not once.

Even at that age, I loved words and wanted to know all about them… but I could’ve easily learned to hate books. Why? School. That’s right, my required reading list nearly soured me on the whole world of literature when my teacher assigned A Taste of Blackberries. (Apologies to anyone who loves this book.)

Spoiler alert: one of the main characters dies. And what was his name? You guessed it: Jamie. To say I was sad would be an understatement. I sobbed for Jamie. And I sobbed when my classmates started teasing me. Apparently, even though I hadn’t a few days before, I now had a “boy” name. A “dead” name. At recess, kids would point in mock terror and shout, “Careful, Jayme – a bee!” (Cause of death for unfortunate literary Jamie)

My takeaway? “Big kid” books sucked. I wanted nothing to do with them.

So Mom tricked me into reading The Secret Garden. I really wanted to see the movie, and she said she’d only take me if I read the book. So I did. And I loved it. Like really, really loved it. And this wasn’t a one time thing for Mom. When my little sister decided reading was boring, she bought her a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m not sure Mom planned on that turning into midnight book release parties and Halloween costumes, but it worked in a big way. All during school, when my required reading just kept getting bleaker and bleaker, I escaped into the pages of Peter Pan and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I solved mysteries with Sherlock Holmes, broke curses along with Ella of Frell, and nowadays when life gets me down I take up my sword and join Percy Jackson. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

My mom gave me that and so much more, so Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I know I don’t say it enough, but thank you. Thank you for always knowing best. Thank you for teaching me it’s okay to be different. And thank you for reminding me that even when something looks shriveled up and horrible, deep down, it can still be “wick.”

P.S. If you’ve never read The Secret Garden, “wick” means “alive” or “lively.”