A few years ago I lost the best office assistant I ever had. He moved on to kindergarten. Prior to his departure, my nephew, Daniel, provided me with one of the most valuable things a writer can receive.
He would often tell me I was the best writer in the world (of course this was quickly followed by - - he was the second best). He would send me little memos, on construction paper, words of wisdom that he would have to translate because I never mastered scribble. He would share thoughts that struck him during the day, bits of advice he felt I should share with my 'Petite Group'.
The first day of school he stepped on the bus and I yelled, "Have a good day at school."
He returned with, "Have a good day writing." Then he turned to another little boy. "My aunt is a writer," he said, pride and support ringing in his voice.
Déjà vu. Fifteen years ago I was knee deep in OD green, uniforms and combat boots. My son was in kindergarten. It was parents' day at school and my son wanted me there.
I was running late and didn't have time to change from my uniform into civilian attire. I was proud to be a member of the military, but I wasn't sure how my son felt about it. None of his friends' moms were in the service. I dreaded walking into his classroom looking like an escapee from a Rambo movie. I dreaded disappointing him more.
When I entered his classroom he jumped up from his desk and yelled, "That's my mom. She's a soldier."
The pride I heard in his voice that day is a memory that I will carry in my heart forever. I realized then the importance of support. I also realized where it has to start. It has to come from within. Because what I didn't realized - - until that day - - was that by nurturing my belief in myself, I had gained my son's support.
It's nice when support comes from others, but that doesn't always happen. When it doesn't, that 'self-support' has to kick in. You have to be your own biggest fan.
Not everyone will realize how important writing is to you. There are some who will view it as a hobby. Not deserving of the time it demands of you. Nowhere near as important as getting the laundry done, fixing dinner, or getting that report out.
We all have demands on our lives that warrant our time. But if you believe in yourself, support yourself, you'll find the time to do it all.
Although we no longer share office space, Daniel is still one of my biggest supporters. I'll admit there is a possibility that I'm not the best writer in the world. But I'm the best writer in Daniel's world and in mine.
I support my belief in myself by writing every day. I have faith in myself. I don't waste valuable time letting doubt grab me. A rejection slip doesn't mean I'm a failure, it means I've learned another lesson, taken one more step on the long road to publication.
Support yourself, have faith in yourself. Because without that faith - - that 'self-support', you'll never be the best writer in anybody's world.
As a matter of fact, you might never be a writer at all.
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