Last week I sent the opening pages of my third middle grade novel to my critique group. My accompanying email read:
Here are the first measly, tender baby words of my new middle grade novel. Now, I will be completely transparent and say I’m really looking for encouragement here, but not the fake kind where you’re just making stuff up to make me feel good. I want you to be honest, but mostly focus on what’s going right (if anything no matter how small), so I can do more of that. You will be welcome to be much, much tougher once I’m further along.
Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my new baby. Remember to support her head, and for Gerber’s sake, keep your dang thumb away from that soft spot on her head would ya? (And I apologize in advance if she smells like poopy.)
Is it just me? You’ve been there, right? I was so vulnerable and needy (one of my all-time favorite states of being for sure). I knew my critique group would be fair and kind, but I was not prepared for the first comments I got back.
I got dark chocolate covered, name in neon lights, to Neptune and back, crazy ENCOURAGEMENT!!!
How did that make me feel?
Confident to push ahead!
As I see it, encouragement is more than good cheer or offering support. It’s fortifying a friend who is afraid–afraid to act, afraid to take a risk, afraid to speak up or afraid to ask. In other words, encouragement provides courage (See there? It’s right in the word itself. How ’bout that?) And that’s what my group gave me.
Encouragement is like . . .
- Jumping through the sprinkler on an August scorcher.
- Finding $20 tucked in your wallet.
- Scoring a gorgeous pair of shoes (at 75% off).
- Savoring a well-timed cup of tea (with a scone, of course).
- Receiving an unexpected hug (or a wink).
- Admiring December’s first snow.
Encouragement makes your soul say, ahhhhhh. You feel full, different, better and ready to take the next step. Little wonder Frog on a Dime‘s primary goal is to provide encouragement to writers.
Who’s been your biggest encourager lately? Who will you encourage today?
Remember, man does not live on bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up. ~ John C. Maxwell