READER FRIDAY: How Are You Supported as a Writer?

 

We’ve all experienced the naysayers who put up roadblocks for our writing passion, but what about those wonderful people who helped you nurture your gift? Please share some inspirational stories for those generous people in your life who have helped you write and sparked your passion.

Bonus points for sharing a story of how you paid the kindness forward to another writer. I know it’s hard to brag, but sometimes hearing a good story of support can inspire more of the same gestures.

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She also pens young-adult novels for Harlequin Teen. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now writes full time. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs.

13 thoughts on “READER FRIDAY: How Are You Supported as a Writer?

  1. Dean Wesley Smith, his (free) blog, his lectures and online workshops, were all invaluable. From him, I first learned of Heinlein’s Rules, and I haven’t looked back.

    Today, after 33 novels, 6 novellas and around 200 short stories, I share a weekly blog on writing at harveystanbrough.com and an almost-daily Journal on the writing life, chock full of writing tips, at hestanbrough.com.

    Plus Bradbury, Márquez, and a host of other great writers. And of course my loving bride and friends who support my daily endeavors.

  2. I devoted a whole book to this act of supporting writers because I wanted to give the gift of the support I received further. The book is called “Cheerleading for Writers” and here is an excerpt telling the story of one of the dear cheerleaders of me as a writer:

    This project of cheerleading for writers is a gift I am passing along. I first received it from Marcy, Marcella Belson, who lives an ocean and a continent away from me, and whom – as I write this – I still haven’t met in person yet.
    Marcy found me through my blog. She commented on the very first short story that I edited and published in one piece. Today, this story is available as a free e-book on my website, in a further revised and improved version entitled, “Between Grace and Abyss.”
    I answered Marcy’s comment. And she replied.
    Here is our first exchange, which I am glad I saved as a separate file. After migrating the blog from one host to another, many of the original comments were lost. But these survived, saved together in a file along with the short story. I was so thrilled that someone I didn’t know found my blog and commented. Somehow, even then, I felt that that exchange was something extraordinary. How right I was!
    Marcy, April 23, 2013, 2:37 am:
    “Nice going, you have the touch! I enjoyed the story and also, your comments about your own life and child. I’m envious of your ability to write fiction. Looking forward to the next story! Where are you? I’m on the West coast, and it appears you are posting in the middle of the night. Maybe you are!”
    I was so excited to read this. Someone thought that my fiction was great and was even envious of my ability to write it! Here is what I answered, a mere ten minutes after Marcy posted her comment.
    April 23, 2013, 2:47 am:
    “Wow, thank you, Marcy, for the great feedback! I was a bit nervous about this one. Its first version definitely needed thorough editing, but I didn’t want to change the story by doing it. So, it was a very interesting challenge.
    I live in Denmark, and I write after my day work (working mostly from home) and after spending time with my family. So, I write mostly in the evenings and nights. It is just so much fun to write and share! And read, of course! I am crazy about reading!
    Thank you very much again for reading and your feedback!”
    Less than two hours later Marcy replied to my comment.
    Marcy, April 23, 2013, 4:19 am:
    “Oh, Vichizli, thank you for replying to my comment! I’m so happy to have a writer in Denmark that I can follow your work! I have had several Danish friends over the years, but have never visited Denmark, unfortunately. I write little things for The Elder Storytelling Place,* about my life, and I belong to a writers’ group. I’ll be waiting for your next work!”
    I couldn’t wait until the evening to answer to Marcy. So, with a cup of espresso next to my computer, I replied to her during a short break from my work.
    April 23, 2013, 9.27 am:
    “Dear Marcy, I am really glad to interact with you. I’m a freshman in writing and happy to exchange with people who are as passionate about writing as I am. I just read your story “Bicycles and Glass Bottles” in the Elder Storytelling Place, which surprised me pleasantly with the richness of details. On the first sight, you could say it contains just facts, but hidden emotions were coming through. I won’t be able to post there ;), being ten years younger than the admittance age, but I would like to read the stories shared there. I enjoyed yours very much. …”
    My comment continued, and I told her a little about Denmark, how I like living here. I was so eager to share more, so I told her that I was originally from Moldova and that I had also lived in Germany. And I recommended all three countries for visiting.
    Marcy commented on most of the subsequent posts.
    At some point, I realized that our conversations became more personal and more private.
    Marcy didn’t have my email address then, but I had hers through her subscription to my blog. So I decided to reach out and sent her an email.
    From there, our beautiful friendship became stronger every day. I haven’t met her in person yet, but it is as if we have known each other for years.
    We shared pictures of ourselves and our loved ones. Then little gifts followed. Marcy took photos holding or wearing the gifts I sent her (including a shawl my mother knitted for her). I reported to her how my son didn’t want to wear any other socks except the ones Marcy had sent him.
    We wrote to each other about writing, about books we’d read, about life, about memories. A generation, an ocean, and a continent, as well as different cultures and upbringing didn’t separate us. In fact, they brought us closer together because we were so curious about each other.
    Marcy witnessed my writing when I thought I would never want to write a book, when I was certain that I’d stick with sharing short pieces on my blog only.
    At some point, I told her about a piece of advice I’d read somewhere: “If there is something you are scared of or worry about, then write about it.” (You will find the exact quote in Chapter “B – Book.”) I told her there was a story I couldn’t stop thinking about. My father’s story. How he lost his family during World War II and then attempted to find it.
    I admitted to Marcy that I had started writing the book about my father.
    In the same email, I told Marcy that I’d been reading a lot about the craft of writing and how most experienced writers advised not to give a first draft to anyone else to read until it was finished and had been revised into at least a second draft.
    Marcy said she hoped to be able to read it when it was ready. She then wrote that her doctors suspected cancer and she was awaiting the results.
    Having received so much support from such a dedicated reader, I wanted to give back. So I took everything I’d written of first book up to that point, self-edited it and sent it to her with a warning that it was still very raw material.
    Fortunately, Marcy’s diagnosis was not cancer. But the reminder of the fragility of life – my father and many relatives died of cancer when I was growing up – made me want to tell her the whole story as soon as I could.
    Her response to the first chapters was prompt. Marcy had loved what I sent her and couldn’t wait for more. She asked me about the Soviet Union and for more details about my father’s story. She seemed to be as engaged in the story as I was.
    So, I sent her each chapter as soon as it was written and self-edited. I tried to answer each of Marcy’s emails quickly and sent her new pages with almost every reply. That got the book going.
    Marcy didn’t set any deadlines and didn’t tell me “you have to write.” When it took me time to answer, she always showed compassion for my schedule, which included a full-time job, family responsibilities and volunteer work.
    What motivated me most was her unique feedback to each chapter. She told me what moved her and what memories of her own youth and childhood the various scenes of my story reminded her of. From Marcy, I learned the word cliffhangers and was delighted when she “accused” me of mastering them.
    Our exchange of blog comments and emails continues to this day. Some time ago, we started to talk on the phone about once a month. It is wonderful to hear each other’s voices. I wish (naively, I know, but still) that this exchange will never end, and I hope to meet this sweet cheerleader of my writing in person someday. She cannot travel long distances anymore, so I am determined to earn as much as possible from my writing so that I can afford to travel half the globe to meet her. And to hug her.
    I would like to finish this chapter with one of the many encouraging comments I received from Marcy, and which shows the power of her cheerleading. I hope that it reveals why I treasure Marcy’s support so much:
    “I’ll be waiting, Vica! Can’t imagine how this will evolve…but I have faith in your abilities.”

    • Writers can be so generous. A fellow author got me published. Encouragement like what you’ve shared really bolsters our insecurities. Thanks for sharing your experience, Victoria.

  3. I have an amazing husband who pays all the bills and totally supports any dream I have. The only pushy thing he does is when will you start writing and stop reading about writing.

  4. From the day I decided to switch from writing for pleasure to writing as a profession, my husband and adult son took over the reigns of running the household. My husband works and pays the bills, does the grocery shopping, attempts to tend to our two demanding four-legged children, and everything in between (but he does manage to get in three rounds of golf each week, which is richly deserved.)

    Our son, who has moved back home after being diagnosed with CVID, a treatable, but incurable immune disorde, does our laundry and other basic housekeeping chores between cleaning lady days. Although I beg him not to spend what little energy he had on chores, he says it makes him feel useful.i

    How did I get so lucky? They are both my heroes.

  5. In middle and high school, I had some great teachers who inspired me to read and to write. Thanks, Mrs. Millman and Mrs. Leonard. I also had a great geography teacher, Mr. Peake, who sparked my interest in foreign countries.
    Last but certainly not least, my wife Sue inspired me to get back into writing after our kids had gotten into high school. She owns and operates a travel agency, so with her I’ve been able to visit some very interesting places, many of which find their way into my books. Our next trip is to Spain next month, where we’ll spend a week biking along the Med!

  6. A few years ago I met a great lady when I joined a golf league. We became friends despite our ups and downs and frustrations of the game.
    Over time, she has become the one individual that not only inspires me to continue writing, but I respect her comments and feedback on my efforts. Not one to let a dear friend down, I keep plugging away. I’m lucky to have her undying support.

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