ENCOURAGING WRITERS

‘Carry each other’s burdens…’

Bob Gass (wonderful name for a preacher) writes:

Why does the Bible say ‘Carry each other’s burdens’? Because one person can only carry a burden so far on their own.

American novelist John Kennedy Toole quickly discovered that. As a young writer he worked alone, writing a novel in New Orleans. When it was finished he sent it to publisher after publisher, but they all turned him down. Overcome by rejection, he took his own life.

Some time after the funeral, his mother found a coffee-stained manuscript in the attic and took it to a professor at Louisiana State University who agreed to read it. Immediately he recognised its genius and recommended it to a major publisher. After its release, John Kennedy Toole’s novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, won a Pulitzer Prize and was heralded as one of the major novels of the twentieth century.

If only John Kennedy Toole had surrounded himself with friends who knew how to share his burden, encourage him when he faced rejection, and motivate him to keep going, his life would have turned out very differently.

So the word for you today is: “Find people who believe in you.” Encourage and support them, and welcome their support in return. Spend more time with those who sharpen you and make you better, and less time with those who drain your energy, time and talent. The truth is, friends who speak encouragement into your life are priceless. Their words are like ‘Apples of gold in settings of silver’ (Proverbs 25).
(UCB Word For Today, emphasis added.)

December-Post_Lamb-on-Mountain_webRob adds: It’s important for us as editors to not just correct writers’ work and help improve their writing, but to encourage them as writers.

I like it when a writer commends me for my editorial skill or hard work (maybe they didn’t notice my mistakes), and it’s nice to show off by putting author testimonials on our website.

But above all I treasure comments from writers who feel I have encouraged them in their writing. And writing isn’t easy. If we’re honest, isn’t editing actually easier than writing?

As editors, let’s keep encouraging writers, who put themselves on the line, and make themselves vulnerable with their words. One texted me (verbatim): ‘Oh my God, your comments mean so much – I was so scared you would tell me i was crap! Or just say nothing!’

I replied: ‘No, you’re a TALENTED WRITER, and you have WRITING ABILITY!’

This elicited the response:
‘I’m on the train. In my head I’m doing somersaults! Cartwheels! I feel so happy!’
Just correcting that writer’s grammar, spelling and punctuation wouldn’t make them feel ‘happy!’

So, writers, be encouraged.

And editors, encourage writers.

Posted in Advice to Writers.

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