Welcome back to the It Takes a Village series. I started it last week with an overview of how it takes a village to help us write, polish and publish a book, to keep us moving forward on our writing journey. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about the importance of surrounding ourselves with people who love and support us, who will give it to us straight, encourage, critique, and promote us.
I hope you’ll join the conversation and share who lives in your Village and what role they play. Perhaps we can even be part of each other’s Village. (hint: Our Villages can never be too full.)
This week I’m sharing about those Villagers who offer support at the deepest level, people who love and encourage me, who walk alongside and sometimes lift me up when the journey gets particularly difficult. I call them my Village Cheerleaders.
I’ve been blessed with a big team of Cheerleaders, but there’s no A or B squad. All of my Village Cheerleaders are important to me. They care about me and about my dreams. Perhaps they think my dreams are silly but they don’t tell me that. Instead, they ask how my book is progressing, they pray with and for me, they get angry when I get rejected and rejoice when I succeed. These are the people I can truly let my hair down with and never fear it will come back to bite me somehow.
Here are some of my cheerleaders:
Michael, my husband of 31 years, was in on my secret desire to write fiction early in our marriage. With a pen and paper always nearby, I couldn’t very well tell him I’d taken up knitting. He never pooh-poohed my hobby. In fact, he encouraged it. When I felt God calling me to a more serious pursuit of writing about 6 years ago, Mike was the first to encourage me to take a writing class. He allowed me space to write, listened to my frustrations, cheered my successes. And he’s never batted an eye when I’ve traipsed off to writing conferences or put countless hours into building MN-NICE, the first ACFW chapter in Minnesota.
My kids have also been in on the secret – Camry and her husband Nate, and Aaron. Now adults, they’ve run the long road with me. Nate has even given me craft books as gifts. Gotta love a son-in-law who “gets it.” They regularly ask how my writing is going, dance around when I win writing contests, pout with me when I don’t. And they encourage me when I think I can’t write one more page of “drivel.” They’re some of my proudest cheerleaders. And having read my early works, they freely remind me how far I’ve come!
My siblings and spouses have been on the Cheerleading team for decades. They encourage me, cheer me on, offer to read chapters, share ideas or information. My younger brother has also been bitten by the writing bug so we share the ups and downs of being writers, of pursuing a similar dream. Even though we’re spread across the country, they are a solid part of my Village.
I have an actual squad of Cheerleader girlfriends who lift me up on a regular basis (they’d try it it physically if we weren’t all 45 and older. I think our days of building pyramids are long over!). Susan, Theresa, Gail C, Nancy, Wendy, Ruth, Lynne, Mary J, Reb, Mary B, Gail S, Stephanie, Holly, Corrine, Lynn, Julie, Marie. There doesn’t need to be an actual squad of Cheerleaders like this in your Village – just one or two close girlfriends (or guy friends – like John, Wayne, Don and Kevin) with whom you can be real.
This writing journey is long and often lonely, with plenty of potholes, detours, and road construction to push you off-track. Surround yourself with Cheerleaders. Let them cheer for you (which can feel a bit awkward for us introverted writers), pray for you, cry with you, push you gently back to the computer when you’ve sworn off writing for good (again). So give it a G, give it an O, and GO celebrate with your Cheerleaders.
Village Rule #1: Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Don’t allow naysayers to speak negative stuff in your Village. The journey is hard enough.
**And remember – it’s not just about you (or me). Make sure you give the love as good as you get it.**
It does wonders for your morale to recognize the Cheerleaders that God has put in your life. Who are they and why are they special?