Valentine’s Day was Tuesday, and it got me thinking about all the important people in my life. Writing is such a solitary activity but having a strong support system is vital. The writer generally gets all the praise, but every writer knows that it is impossible to succeed truly on your own. The people in your life lighten the load and offer encouragement. Often, they do so whole-hardheartedly, without being allowed to read the work in progress and without any knowledge of whether the sacrifices they are making are going to amount to much in the end. They take on many roles. Sometimes they’re your editor, waiting long periods between drafts and dutifully reading multiple iterations. Sometimes they take on the role of unpaid psychiatrist. Sometimes they are your only cheering section.
My family has supported me in my writing since I was a girl. My mother still cuts out clippings about writers and writing, conferences and free lance jobs. She calls me to tell me about a new software for writers. She buys me books. A few weeks ago my mom dusted off one of my old stories and proclaimed, “I want to send this somewhere (for publication).” I guess she was tired of waiting for me to. I know she doesn’t know exactly where to send it or how to go about that, but the gesture made me realize that I do know now how to fix a couple of the stories that I liked and shelved. I’m going to work on them and try to send them out for publication when I am done with the first draft of my novel.
My husband has been critical to my writing again on a daily basis by listening to my ups and downs, editing my blog, bringing me cups of coffee and oatmeal in the morning so that I don’t go without eating (which I will forget to do otherwise), offering to cook when it’s not his turn and taking on more responsibility so that I can carve out time to write when I’ve had a busy week.
I wouldn’t be writing all these years later without these people in my life, and if I am able to continue doing so it will be because of their help. So, this Valentine’s I want to say thank you for the cups of coffee, the clippings, the therapy sessions, the encouraging words and gestures, for never suggesting that I’m wasting my time and for reading and reading and reading my stories.