I miss my writing buddy.

Katie and I usually get together every month at a donut shop called Cranky Al’s. We share excerpts from what we are working on, talk about our plans for the future (near and far), and, most importantly, support each other unconditionally and non-competitively in ways that continue to surprise me. She is probably unaware of just how big a role she has played in my writing life the past couple of years.

However, summer’s perennial changes of rhythm, travel, and family responsibilities have meant that we skipped our August meeting. Not until recently did I realize just how much I value her literary ear and wisdom, her “we can do this” attitude, and, especially, her understanding and acceptance of how projects change and grow, sometimes die or transform themselves. Her response to a change in direction for a character or an idea is always “Tell me about it!” and never “But I thought you said you were going to …”

I thought of Katie this morning when I read a post by author Christine Fonseca, who writes, “For me, the hardest part of being a writer is maintaining the confidence necessary to continue writing, in spite of everything else.”

Courage and confidence are among a writer’s (or anyone’s, for that matter) greatest allies, and that’s when I realized just what Katie gives me over apple fritters and lattes: encouragement.

Encourage: To inspire with courage, animate, inspirit; To inspire with courage sufficient for any undertaking; to embolden, make confident. ~ OED

Also in Christine’s blog post was an eye-opening link to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Publishing a Novel., which shows just how much courage, confidence, and motivation a writer must have. Here is a taste:

“May, 2010: BAD NEWS. The manuscript is not what Scholastic was hoping for. It’s too old for one thing, more of a tweener book and middle school, not that 10-11 year old elementary age group that The Healing Spell is. They wanted a true companion book that will be put INTO THE SCHOLASTIC BOOK CLUB AND BOOK FAIRS. What I wrote has hoodoo magic and beauty spells and hexes and voodoo poppet dolls – and the clubs and fairs won’t take it.

My editor and agent TALK.
My agent talks to me to explain the likes/dislikes
My editor and I talk to clarify. The *voice* of my character is wrong, the plot is too much REAL Southern magic. I finally *get it* that I have to START OVER FROM PAGE ONE AND WRITE AN ENTIRE NEW BOOK.”

Who in your life inspires you with courage, animates you, inspirits you? Who emboldens you and makes you confident enough to “start over from page one and write an entire new book”?

Tell him or her thank you today. ๐Ÿ™‚

Photo Credit: Dani Simmonds