Thanksgiving

Editor’s Note: this post was first published in 2010. (Courage 2 Create will return with new posts on November 26.)

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.

My 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, at a time when I was a complete and utter mess, 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.

More Advocates

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. Who knows? Nonetheless, their unending support has made my novel and this blog possible. For them, I am also very grateful.

My Allies

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 while back, 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 Alannah). 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 make this blog possible. Without you, Courage 2 Create wouldn’t exist. Period.

For you and for that fact, I am very grateful. Thank you.

Your Life Tip For Today

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 “Happy Thanksgiving!”

Ollin

*Ninja writers: my term for writers who used to blog but, because of a commitment to their lives or to their work, have decided to leave–however, even though they decided to ditch blogging, they haven’t severed their ties with the blogging community. You can’t see them, but then they’ll just come out of nowhere. You know, like ninjas.

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10 comments on “Thanksgiving

  1. rinkoo says:

    Hi ollin, great post again. I have been reading your blog for sometime and it always is an enriching and elevating experience. Love the term ninja writers…afraid I too am one🙂
    Writing my first creative non fiction seriously

  2. AH says:

    Great post as usual

  3. Jack Dowden says:

    My first advocate was my therapist. I told her I had written some stories as a kid, but got discouraged and quit. Over the summer, I had started up again, and she asked to see some of my stuff. After she read it, she told me, “You can become a great writer.” She went on to discuss other aspects of the particular story, but those words stuck with me. It’s been years, but I still remember them. Those are the words I think back to when I’m feeling tired and angry and all I want to do is give up. The first advocate really is the best. Thanks for this.

  4. CJ says:

    Great post you have here, Ollin. I found my my to it through a post on the net’s best blogs on getting started with writing. You’ve got quite a bit of inspiration, here. I give thanks for it!
    I’m reading a classic book right now — _If You Want To Write_. I’m finding it to be a real gem, and it’s helping to motivate me to get started with writing, and I’ve just begun a new blog, penandpractice.blogspot.com to track my research and learning. I’m off to check your FAQ. Best wishes.

  5. L says:

    My favorite post. :’-)

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