Friday, September 30, 2011


The other day I read a blog post that gave me pause. A writer had been castigated by another writer because she was looking for an agent instead of self-pubbing. Now given all the changes in Amazon’s algorithms and how that’s radically affecting indie e-books, it’s pretty foolish to think e-pubbing is the answer to everything. Click here to learn more.

Regardless of what path or paths you decide to choose in presenting your work to the world or even if you write in a notebook and never show it to a living soul, we ought to be encouraging one another.

As I was mulling over the whole situation, I realized how rare it is for someone to encourage someone else. I don’t know if it’s our culture or if it’s human nature, but real encouragement is rare. And I’m not talking about the cheap politically correct “everyone is special” mumbo-jumbo, but real, thoughtful encouragement. Can you remember the last time you encouraged someone else? What about the last time someone encouraged you?

I remember a professor I had in college. Dr. Brown. He was an elderly man who smoked way too much, but he had two rare gifts. First, he was a true genius. The only one I have ever met. Two, he knew how to encourage. He encouraged me. He wrote insightful comments on my papers and exams. He called on me in class and complimented what I had to say. And guess what? I never worked as hard for any literature class, ever. I spent every free hour learning everything I could about critical theory and Restoration Literature, which I hate (except for Tristram Shandy—a marvel of wit that breaks every rule of writing and does it with style). I was ready should Dr. Brown say, “Connie, give me a Hegelian reading of Dryden’s ‘Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day.’” And I would have been able to do it, even though I hate Hegel, dislike Dryden, and the ode—meh. I became a Pamela expert, despite that fact that Samuel Richardson poured every ounce of his prodigious tediousness into the novel. And I did that all because this man encouraged me.

Can you imagine what we could do if we encouraged each other? What about you all? Any stories of encouragement you’d like to share?

Click here to read this week's post on the Screwing Up Time blog.

Click here to read A.B. Keuser's interview of me.


  1. I would say that the writing blogosphere is proof positive that an encouraging environment can work wonders. My own writing journey has had lots of momentum because of that support.

  2. I agree with Lydia. I'm constantly wowed by how supportive and positive the writing blogosphere has been. The positive reinforcement makes me want to be a better blogger and a better writer. :)

  3. Lydia and Krispy,
    Yes, I agree, the encouragement of other writers within the blogosphere is wonderful. Sometimes even knowing that someone else is digging out of plot holes is wonderfully reassuring.