Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Power of Encouragement

Yesterday I found myself getting discouraged with my inability to find direction in my book. I felt like a failure and began to question this whole quest to write. What if I couldn't do it? What if I'd written all I was going to write? Whatif it wasn't any good? It was bringing me down big time, so I took a break and checked my e-mail.

There, I found a beautiful message from a dear friend who had just read my winning chapter from the LDStorymakers contest. She said: "Finally read your winning chapter -- What a hoot! I loved it! Loved the grandpa especially, and how you make the story come alive with details. I am right there as Claire and the fairy interact. You've got me checking my cursor and all. Great job and Good Luck with the story!"

I hope she doesn't mind me sharing this, because it made a huge difference in my attitude yesterday. Suddenly I wasn't worried anymore. I was rejoicing. I said to myself, "well, if Jewel thinks I can write, then maybe I really can!" Recognizing the power in this thought, I began to collect as many of the positive things I could find that had been said about my writing. I pulled them from blog comments, e-mail, and even comments authors wrote in the front of their books when they autographed them for me. I ended up with about thirty bits of encouragement from a wide variety of individuals I have met at LTUE, LDStorymakers conferences, Authors Incognito, and the blogosphere.

As I looked at all these beautiful cheerleading words, I decided it wasn't enough to just collect them in one place--these words needed to be somewhere I could see them daily, hourly if needed. This was my cheering section when no one was around, and so I created . . . The Wall of Champions. It is filled with comments like "HA! I told you you were great!" and "I was very impressed with your writing at the conference and the judges obviously were too. Believe in yourself, because we all believe in you!"

The one comment that makes me laugh every time I read it comes from another dear friend. "I read it. LOVED IT!! and I hate you. Call me." The comment that reminds me writing is something I'm supposed to do, says, "We need your gift of writing in our lives. The world needs your stories. Only you can write them." And the comment that humbles me to the very earth says simply "You are my hero."

All of these individuals have empowered me, supported and lifted me when I couldn't pull myself forward anymore. Knowing they believe in me, even when I couldn't believe in myself, has made me sit down one more time, write one more word, try one more time-and they do it time after time after time.

So, thank you, my friends. Thank you for the encouragement and the pick-me-up. Thank you for caring enough to leave a comment or send a note. Thank you for believing in me when I forgot to believe in myself. Thank you for lifting me up and helping me to write again -and the next time you leave an encouraging comment on somebody's blog, know that it's not dropping into cyberspace. Those comments are very meaningful and you just never know when some small thing you say might just make a difference.

Quote of the Day: "The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say."
~Anaïs Nin


Tristi Pinkston said...

What a cool idea, to create a wall! I think we all go through times when we wonder what on earth we're doing -- keeping it in front of you is a great way to chase that away.

And you *are* awesome. :)

Karlene said...

Just want to remind you of our Blogging Babes potluck this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at my house. Details are on our group blog . If you have any questions, send me an e-mail.

Hope to see you there!


Julie Wright said...

Karen, this makes me smile fondly. In college I had a wall of love (it was a door actually) with similar type phrases people said to me and pictures with me and my friends. ANd duh! Of course you're brilliant and fabulous. I wish you saw in you all the great things we see in you.

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

What an inspired idea. I've heard of authors putting their rejections up on their wall to remind them how close they were getting to their acceptances, but I think this idea is MUCH better, and oh so needed for all of us who work alone, trying to make the world a better place. Keep up your great work.

Jewel Punzalan Allen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jewel Punzalan Allen said...

Well, Karen, what goes around comes around. You always have something nice to say about someone. I'm honored to be your friend :-). Love ya!

Noble M Standing said...

Karen, you are an awesome writer and someday soon it will be you in the author spot. I just know it. You have said things to me that have kept me going, in my hours of darkness.
I printed up all of the good comments from my crits from the writing conntest and tacked them to my wall a few weeks ago.

Last night I had a few comments about my writing that made me doubt myself, but one of the good comments kept popping into my head and i was able to get over my doubts.

We buoy each other up when we are down. it is the craft i think.

Anne Bradshaw said...

When we look at all the great writers who've had rejections, and how they felt about them at the time, it can only give us encouragement.

There's always HOPE!

I just blogged yesterday about David Wolverton's amazing free email help for writers. He's a wonderful teacher, and there's always so much to learn, no matter how many books an author has written.

Please know you are much appreciated, Karen. You made my day when you bought my books at the Storymaker conference.