I just finished Ch. 17 today, and as I draw my story to an end, I find myself in an unlikely position.
First of all, I never imagined I would have people following me as I begin to wrap up the first step in my long journey towards publication. I started this blog as a way to get me to write my novel, to inspire me, to motivate me. But it turns out that as I found ways to motivate and inspire myself, I ended up motivating and inspiring you as well. How did this all happen? I wonder. And where did it all begin?
Ah. You know what? It began with my very first advocate.
A writer is nothing without his advocates, and no advocate is more important than the very first one. My very first advocate was my sister, L. Back when I was just little Ollin and I would write short stories for fun, I would hand them over to my sister for feedback. My first stories were probably terrible, and loaded with every imaginable writing cliché, but my sister would always take the time to read them. Then, after she was done, she would tell me what ever writer loves to hear:
“Ollin, this story has great potential. Keep working on it!”
You see, she could have been mean and told me it was terrible, or worse, she could have been overly nice and told me that it was better than Dante. Both kinds of feedback are nearly useless to any writer. Why? Because there’s nothing to do afterward. If I’m terrible, then all I can do is give up. If I’m a genius, then there’s nothing left for me to do either–because there is nothing left to improve. But my sister knew the right way to motivate a beginning writer: she was honest with me but at the same time she was encouraging. That’s the best kind of criticism you could ever ask for when you are just starting out. My sister’s support was never lacking over the years, and whenever I made a bold move, even one that may have run counter to my previous goals, she was always there to be the first one to come to my side, and the first to become my number #1 fan. She’s the one who finally, when I was a complete and utter mess at the beginning of February of this year, suggested that I finish my novel and that I write a blog about it.
So this blog, you see, begins with my sister supporting me; and if this is a week where we give our thanks, then I thank her so much for the best gift she could have ever given me: her support.
My sister is only one member of a family who, no matter what dream I chose to pursue, no matter how I chose to express myself, no matter where I dare to venture, support me 100%. To each and every one of the members of my family, therefore, I am very grateful. Without a doubt, my journey into writing could not have happened without their encouragement.
Then there is a different sort of family that I also have: a group of amazing friends. I’m very lucky to have them, and I’ll fight anyone who thinks they can find a better group of friends in the whole wide world. Which leads me to wonder why they’ve chosen to keep me around all these years–me, a
struggling active artist who hasn’t got a penny to his name. Who knows? Nonetheless, their unending support has made my novel and this blog possible. For them, I am also very grateful.
Finally, there is a group of people who are just as important as a writer’s advocates, and those are his allies. Allies are people who not only support a writer, but who understand the writer, because they are deep inside the writing process themselves. A year ago, I wrote in my journal that I really wished that I had a group of writer friends who understood me and who could offer me support–the kind of support that I knew only other writers could give me. Well, my wish came true, and you all finally arrived, although not in the way I had ever expected. I may not have you in physical form, but I guess your digital form will have to do for now.
There was the first person to ever comment on this blog–who did not know anything about me—Miss Rosemary. There was the first to guest post, Barb. You have to understand, it was not very long ago where I had zero hits, zero subscribers, and about three posts. There was no reason to believe I was anyone to care about, much less read about, and yet these two lovely ladies decided to read and comment and they become some of my very first blogger friends.
After that, came a rush of new readers, a motley crew of fellow writers and supporters. From beginning writers who were just coming into their own (like Jenny and Keshav) to others writers already in the process of making their writing dreams come true (like June H., T.S. and Janna). There were those who were already making a living off of their craft (like Jennifer and BrownEyed), and those who were already published (like Lisa). Some of you came and went, but promise to still pop in once in a while (like my favorite ninja writers* Lua and Agatha). Some of you are brave and as tough as nails (like Kenzie), some of you live more boldly than I could ever live (like Connor), and still some of you are talented way beyond your years (like Maimoona and BrownPaperBagGirl). Some of you inspire me (like Amanda), and still others make me think (like Jessie). There are those who don’t comment, but just like to listen (yes, I know you are there), and finally, there are those who just arrived. (Welcome, by the way.)
You click on my posts from a computer, on a table, in a home located in Europe, North America, The Middle East, India, Africa, and Australia. (Places I never thought I would ever reach with my writing.) You come not because of how I look, or what my educational background is, or how much money I have in the bank, or who I’m related to, or how popular I am–no, you come to me, and you keep coming, because you like my writing. That’s the best kind of flattery for a writer. What’s more, without really meaning to, I have inspired you, and in turn, that has inspired me to inspire you further. Isn’t that just the most wonderful cycle to fall into? You helped me reach more than 10,000 views in less than a year, 50 subscribers, 12 Guest Posts, you got me like this close to winning a national blogging competition, and just last week you got me on Freshly Pressed. Woah, right? Like double woah.
You make me and this happen.
For you and for that fact, I am very grateful. Thank you.
Now, this wouldn’t be a blog post on the C2C without me offering you a writing (and life) tip. So here you go:
As you spend this Thanksgiving weekend with your family, give thanks, yes, but also play close attention. Why?
Because family drama makes for some great writing material.
Who are YOUR most important advocates and allies? What are YOU most thankful for this year?
*My term for writers who used to blog but, because of a commitment to their lives or to their work, decided to leave–however, they have left without severing their ties with the blogging community. You can’t see them, and then they’ll just come out of nowhere, you know, like ninjas.
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