Be Encouraged

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

~~

See this tree out on that rocky point. The lone cypress is one of the highlights on the 17 Mile Drive along the coastline between Monterey and Carmel. The brochure stated that the tree had survived on that open rocky point for over 250 years in spite of the storms that blew in off the ocean and the winds that tossed waves up on the rocks. Because it’s become admired for its lone stand, a stone wall was built around its trunk to protect it from the sea. People are ready to do whatever they can to help it continue to cling to its lonely and at times harsh outpost. That’s so we can stop on our drive, take pictures and be encouraged by the sight of one tree keeping its lone vigil.

~~

Be encouraged – that was the theme of Kyle Duncan’s talk to us at the Books & Such Writers Retreat I attended last week in California. Kyle is an executive editor at Bethany House and is as friendly and approachable as his wonderful smile suggests. Actually his talk was titled “Five Things Your Editor Won’t Tell You,” but when he told us to be encouraged, that’s when I sat up and paid notice.

~~

Everybody needs encouragement in his or her life. Especially writers. Sometimes we’re like that lonely cypress tree out there on the point all by ourselves being buffeted by the winds of criticism and the waves of change in the publishing industry. We sit in front of our computers and write our stories and hope we’ll be able to hang on in the face of whatever storms come our way. Perhaps personal storms that steal our writing time. Or professional storms that set our stories adrift in a sea of no interest. Or emotional storms of discouragement.

~~

I’ve been keeping a writing journal ever since I started writing seriously for publication. It’s my way of having a record of what I’ve written and when I wrote it. I celebrate my writing victories there, but it’s also the place I write about my frustrations and disappointments. I can open those notebooks up to some years and see some storm of rejections or dismay on most any page. I’ll prove it. I’m opening a book at random. On a Tuesday in 1997 this is a bit of what I wrote in my journal. “I’ve been putting off writing here because things are so flat, so depressing. I got a rejection on Freaks finally – only took them 9 months this time….I’m so low I could crawl under a snake.” Yikes, that sounds awful, doesn’t it? But even when I was lowest I always tried to end my journal entry with a positive thought. That entry ends with “Courage! Willpower! Discipline!” Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader, your own encourager.

~~

So it was good to hear Kyle tell us writers to be encouraged. The book industry is still looking for great books. Readers are still looking for books to entertain and enlighten them. Writers are still clinging to their lonely outposts and hoping that the words they’re writing will find some sunshine and sparkle as their new stories sail out to readers. Sometimes those writers gather together together in a beautiful place to hear words of encouragement. Sometimes those writers have to chase after their own encouragement.

~~

May you be encouraged in whatever dream you’re chasing this week. I’ll leave you with another quote I came across “I am not afraid of tomorrow for I have seen yesterday and I love today.” William Allen White.
~~
What encourages you?