Welcome to the Audacity to Write

Welcome Teachers and Students!

I’m delighted that you are reading my book in your writing class! When I began this book, it felt a bit like jumping off a cliff. I’d left my faculty position at the University of Maryland, a job I loved, to try and achieve this dream I had of writing and publishing a novel, but the first few months went terribly. 

So, you know my book cover with Sara on her back and her feet in bunny slippers? This was basically me the first few months. My writing was going NOWHERE and I thought that maybe I had made a gargantuan mistake leaving my job and thinking I could write and publish a book. Eeks! It was bad.

The Audacity of Sara Grayson

It wasn’t until I envisioned Sara, someone full of self-doubt like me, that I realized that maybe Sara might be the story I was looking for—someone with the weight of the writing world on her shoulders. She was a mess and I was a mess. So, we became friends, and the title came to me quickly as we jumped into our writing journey together.

Audacity speaks to me still. Its meaning of boldness, courage, and risk-taking encourages me to be a little more brave every day. Not just with writing, but all sorts of things that frighten me.

Even this letter right now. I began with uncertainty. I felt that vulnerability, that fear that often rises up in us—that self-doubt of who am I to say anything here? But then I heard the whisper of audacity. It reminded me to just begin and sometimes that’s half the battle.

In the movie, We Bought a Zoo. A dad tells his son that sometimes all we need is “twenty seconds of insane courage” to do big things. I think those twenty seconds are like a bolt of audacity! We need these bolts get us started and then we need the slow, steady power of audacity to keep us going in our creative journeys—and anything else that really matters to us.

I never wrote this book for writing classrooms. I never imagined it would be in the hands of teachers and students. This book is in your hands because of the many letters I received about what my book meant to writers like you. But then…once again…I had to find the audacity to pitch it to schools and teachers. I’m so glad I did. Sara’s story belongs to you now, to your heart, and to your mind.

I’m wishing you audacity in all of your bold moves, your risks, your dreams.

I am cheering you on!


Joani Elliott