Penny Lockwood interviews Tamara on “One Writers Journey”, where she discusses her recently published book, and personal writing process.
Tell me a little about your book.
Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands is a picture book about a girl named leela who dreams of doing headstands. However, no matter how hard she tries, she’s unable to achieve her goal. She’s devastated by this as we usually are when faced with defeat, but through discovering that having a failure doesn’t mean that “she” is failure, she is ultimately able to find happiness.
This story offers an alternative to the “little engine that could” message that practice makes perfect and that if we just keep trying, we eventually reach a goal. The reality is, no matter how hard we try, we’re sometimes still unable to succeed in life. This book encourages cultivating self-acceptance, compassion and resilience in order to accept, learn and grow from defeat.
What gave you the idea for this particular story?
The story was in part inspired by my own struggle with perfectionism, which I’ve had since childhood and lead to a lack of self-acceptance or self-compassion. These were qualities I’ve had to learn as an adult and continue to practice as best as I can.
The beliefs we learn as children become our core beliefs as adults, so my intention through the work I create is to inspire healthy and empowering belief systems in children from the start, to help them become high functioning, happy, adults.
My sense has always been that if I had known some of what I know now, at a younger age, life could have been easier. Perhaps I would have been a little less afraid to fail in life, and would have been a little more resilient when I did. My hope is the struggles I’ve faced and learned from in life, can help others.
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I invest most of my time in my company Begin Within where I create inspirational content for both children and adults such as books, apps, and transmedia properties. My goal is to help people “find the calm within the chaos.” I work far beyond what are typical full time hours, and wish I could say I was writing full time, but as an entrepreneur, my time is split between writing, working with service providers (such as illustrators, graphic designers, and printing companies,) selling and marketing my book, shipping, doing promotion, social media and blogging, along with the many other “parts” of self publishing which are too many to name. I’m a busy gal.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
My background is in music and I’ve been writing music since I was a late teen but it’s only been within the last 5 years that I’ve really identified as a writer. For a time, I tried to find people to help bring my numerous ideas to life, but ultimately I realized that the best way to manifest my visions clearly was to learn how to write so I could effectively bring them to life myself. Literary work doesn’t come as instinctively to me as writing music, but it’s equally as meaningful.
What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I’ll refer to the message of Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands specifically. We’re living in a time when children are experiencing more stress, anxiety and pressure than ever before and the pressure to succeed is often overwhelming. Children are learning to equate their self-worth with achievement and developing a deep fear of failure (and even trying). So it’s more important than ever before to empower children by teaching them that failure is okay, through enhancing their self-acceptance, self-compassion, and an ability to find gratitude in every day moments….