Advocates and Allies

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 meMiss 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.

much thanks,

Ollin

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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35 comments on “Advocates and Allies

  1. Arianwin says:

    LOL. I’d have to say my biggest advocate is my hubby who has to listen to me talk non-stop about my NaNoWriMo novel and ask him insane questions about what he would do if he was in the same situation as one of my characters.

    And then there was that one time I was in no mood for sex because I just. had. to. write….YIKES!

    • Ollin says:

      Haha. Yes, I hope my partner will one day be as supportive as yours. It’s a wonder any significant other puts up with us!😉

  2. Awww… Isn’t this sweet🙂

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you too Ol!

    And thanks for that kind mention😉 I’m always here to support you. And I must say, you’re Lucky with capital L to have a sister like L🙂

    -BrownEyed

  4. Kelly says:

    You are so right about the need for allies. Advocates are so important, but there’s nothing like an ally who’s down in the trenches with you and understands what it’s like to go through the ups and downs of the writing process. *I’m* thankful that I found your blog and another ally in the writerly life. Happy Thanksgiving, and congrats on creating a community of allies. 🙂

    ~Kelly

    • Ollin says:

      Yes, oh my lord. It has been so important to my journey as a writer. I couldn’t have done it without my allies, they always give me the pick me up I need, and they always know what to say because they know what they want to hear. So it is a lovely relationship. Yes I am very excited to have you as a new ally, Kelly. Looking forward to fighting this war with you as a fellow troop.🙂

  5. Ollin–I must say the best sort of writing comes straight from the heart! Sometimes it is hard to write from the heart but I think your sister gets it as well as the great following you have sir! What incredible gratitude YOU have….your sister should consider herself lucky!

    I am proud and will support you for pursuing your dreams! What a very positive thing! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

    CatMan

  6. T.S. Bazelli says:

    I think you have a gift for inspiring people! It’s no wonder (at least to me) why this blog is a success. I’m also thankful for all the people that the world of blogging has introduced me to. There’s nothing better to fight that writer’s doubt than finding other people who know what it’s like. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Loved this post! So well written, and filled with happiness. You’re fabulous, Ollin. One day you’ll make it! I know it. * HUGS * Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Anne says:

    Great blog post this morning! I hope you have a wonderful holiday! Celebrate your finished manuscript and pat yourself on the back for getting it ALL DONE!!! Congrats to you (I just toasted you with my coffee mug in my living room!)…
    🙂 Anne

    • Ollin says:

      Not quite finished yet. I have two chapters to go in this first draft. I plan on having the whole thing done by the end of december. Thank you for the congrats though! I have finished ch. 17, which is a great accomplishment in itself. Wohoo! Go small, achievable goals!🙂

  9. Messina Studio says:

    The last bit really caught me off guard….and made me chuckle! Why? Because it makes for good writing material!😉 Good Job with your progress though.

  10. Ollin says:

    You’re welcome. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!🙂

  11. Artswebshow says:

    Well, i’m not necessarily a writer but my show has had some fierce advocates.
    People i have known in blogging for quite some time but probably most especially the people i work with on a daily basis.
    They have been the ones who helped me through the countless offline doubts i have had about trying for my goals.
    I’m glad to say my show is picking up and i’m happy to hear things are going well for you.
    Best of luck in the future

    • Ollin says:

      Thank you, Artswebshow!

      I’m glad your show is going well. I hope it keeps going well for you!🙂 Wonderful. Best of luck to you too.

  12. “Ninja writers” – I adore that. And I love that you gave a shout-out to those two in particular, as I already miss them very much too😦

    I hope your sister read this. My sister has been my writing advocate as well, and I completely share the same sentiments toward the camaraderie of the cyberworld writers – what an unexpected source of advice and empathy that I knew nothing of just a year ago. I like the perspective you give on the far-reach of your words through this blog. That really is something to marvel at, so cheers to you for such a productive year!

    And Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  13. milkfever says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Ollin. And thank you for injecting such an incredible amount of enthusiasm and warmth into the lives of fellow writers.

    A few years ago I joined a writing group. From memory there were about ten of us. Some dropped out and quit writing after a single rejection, others had busy lives that tugged them away from books and words.

    Eventually there was just me, and one other, left; Stephen. We both were determined, passionate and single minded in our desire to get published. We shook hands on the deal over a glass of red wine one night, after all the others had given up on their dream, declaring that we would not quit until we got our books in the book stores.

    Over the years we supported each other and we kept in touch when I moved to the country. We commiserated over knockbacks and celebrated out little victories. And in a very strange twist of fate, although working at different speeds, having different genres, and different approaches, we both found a publisher and got our books published in the very same month – June of this year. Remarkable!

    But it proves my theory that most important quality an aspiring author needs, above all else is – persistence.

    Sorry, that was a long ramble. Thanks to all.

    • Ollin says:

      Wow. Great story of perserverence and the power of persistence. We can all learn from the both of you. Thank you for sharing!🙂

  14. An amazing post from an amazing writer and person🙂 What a fantastic journey you are on. I’m grateful that I get to glimpse of it through your blog. Happy Thanksgiving, Ollin!

  15. Cities of the Mind says:

    Boldness is less what you do than how you do it. You have to be bold to accomplish anything worth doing–like say, write a freaking novel. . . That’s a big undertaking, and to do it right you have to invest more of yourself in an act than the ordinary person is willing to do. That is, in my opinion, the definition of boldness.

    Congrats on making it so far!

  16. jannatwrites says:

    Sorry I’m late in the game…I spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws “gathering material”😉

    My best friend of fifteen years is my biggest ally. She told me she won’t let me quit. She listens to me when things are going well….and encourages me when they’re not. Since you’ve already read about what I’m thankful for on my blog, I won’t bore you with the long list here🙂

    May you continue to inspire and be inspired!

  17. Thank You Ollin. I celebrated the moment when you were on “Freshly pressed”, you always bring us along on your wonderful journey.

    You are a wonderful source of inspiration!

    Right now..I’m too confused (pissed off) with myself to say anything concrete. But I’ll Just say “I’m glad that I found you when I started reviving my blog”.

    Keep creating magic!

  18. Lua says:

    I love this post Ollin- I remember when I discovered your blog, I think you were writing chapter four? And look how far you’ve come! (and I LOVE my nickname- ninja writer)🙂

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