Once upon a time, there was a girl whose parents insisted she go to bed at a reasonable hour, even though she wasn't sleepy. So she would dream up elaborate stories to occupy her time. As a general rule, she was the heroine of the tales. There was a long stretch where she was a famous teenage spy. Then several years where she was a cancer curing doctor. And of course, a ridiculous number of stories where she wound up married to a wealthy man and had servants and jetted around the world to attend opening night at the opera.
The girl never told anyone these stories because she thought there was something wrong with her. She tried to stop herself but sooner or later, another story would emerge.
Then one day, the girl (who was now quite grown up) wondered what would happen if she tried to write the story down. How hard could it be? The story in her head would make a great book. The kind of book she would like to read.
So she did.
But she didn't tell anyone. Except her very own Prince Charming who didn't think she was crazy and encouraged her to finish the tale. When she typed "The End" she realized she had a choice. Keep the secret, or share it.
The girl was afraid. Afraid people would laugh. Afraid people would think she was crazy. After all, Prince Charming was biased so she couldn't assume others would share his opinion.
The girl chose to share. First with her sister. Then her parents. Then a few friends. And to her relief, they didn't just like it. They loved it.
So she took a class.
Then signed up for a writers conference.
And that's when things got really interesting. Because two people who did not know her at all emailed her and said, "Hey, you're a writer. We're writers. Come hang out with us."
The girl was afraid. What if they didn't like her? Or worse, what if they didn't like her writing? (Which is not the same thing, but feels like it is). The girl didn't think of herself as a writer, but she wanted to. So she went to meet the writers.
And the rest . . . well, the rest is unfolding right before your eyes. Edie Melson (@EdieMelson) and Vonda Skelton (@VondaSkelton) welcomed the girl into their circle of writers. They encouraged, instructed, and critiqued. They introduced the girl to other writers. And they continue to remind her that successful writers write and some of them get published. And while she may be a little wierd, there's nothing wrong with her that isn't wrong with them, too.
You may be wondering why I chose to tell that story today and what it has to do with thankfulness.
Today, as I do every first Thursday of the month, I have a guest post on Edie's blog, The Write Conversation. Later this month, I'll have a guest post on Vonda's blog, The Christian Writer's Den. These women have chosen to be encouragers and cheerleaders to a bunch of newbie (and not so newbie) writers. They are some of the busiest women I know, but they make time because they don't want to see new writers make any of the mistakes they made early in their careers.
Not every new writer manages to fall in with people who only want the best for them.
But this girl did.
And I will forever be thankful.