On Encouragement

Fine Feathers is a blog about “An aspiring writer’s journey.” This writer’s journey began with an unexpected illness—chronic migraines—and the loss of a medical career.

It has included a mostly silent battle with daily headaches, which has engendered great sympathy for the plight of other patients dealing with the frustrations of medical care.

It has included the joy of rediscovering writing, publishing short stories, completing a novel, and working with a professional editor to make her novel the best it can be.

It has included the challenges of raising two young children, who depend on her to be whole and well and undistracted, fully present in the moment, despite the draw of her writing and the pressing needs of her illness.

It could not have happened without the support and encouragement of a lot of people. This WordPress community, her family, her friends, and her writers’ group. Everyone who has offered feedback on her writing, “liked” a post, followed this blog, read her words…you are what has MADE HER A WRITER. You are what has let this writer follow her heart, and live her dream.

Some professional writers say it’s so tough to be a writer, you should do nothing but discourage young writers…if they’re meant to succeed, they will. They have to know how hard it’s going to be.

But this writer is a believer in encouragement. Not praise, which researchers have shown lowers self-esteem if given indiscriminately, but pure, simple encouragement. Which anyone deserves, at any step of their journey:

You can do it.

One more step.

You are not alone.

Every writer’s journey begins with a word. Getting that word out requires a leap of faith. Is it the right word? You have to BELIEVE it is. Will anyone read it? You have to have the confidence to proceed, whether or not that word sees the light of day.

Write shitty first drafts—Anne Lamott

Have the courage to write badly. —Joshua Wolf Shenk

Encouragement carries no judgment, doesn’t have to be earned. It focuses on the effort, the enjoyment of the process.

Tell the stories only you can tell—Neil Gaiman

I believe in encouragement, because I know I thrive on it. I wouldn’t be here without it. Fine Feathers will always be a place to share the things that inspire and encourage me, that help me get through the hard parts in life, in parenting, in my writing journey.

When this writer encounters blocks in her journey, she’ll face them with grit, and carry on.

And make a note.

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