Things you tell graduates also works for writers

When graduates are faced with all their relatives once the ceremony is over and the party has begun, relatives and friends search for those words that offer hope and encouragement.

Unless you’re uttering the words, “I want to set you up in business right now” or “Here’s some money, spend a few months in Europe finding yourself,” I’m not sure they listen. Those pearls of wisdom you struggle to come up with are not very helpful when it’s all said and done or are they?

We try to impart words that show the graduate we believe in them. We may compliment them on their great grades, or how many colleges want them or the scholarship they won. We might offer hope with suggestions as to who is hiring college graduates right now. We don’t tell them about the poor economy, the soft job market or that thousands of people are vying for the very same job. We wish to offer them hope.

Well, those very same ideas apply to writers. Writers need a support system since they work alone, the field is competitive and jobs are often scarce. We need to be encouraging to writers and to one another as our chosen profession does contain lots of blue sky. We need to know even though many are pursuing the same goals, we have as good a chance as anyone else.

Writers need to be stroked and told they have created something wonderful. It’s okay for family and friends and even other writers to be encouraging if not completely truthful. I’m of the opinion that if people get shut down too soon they may never reach their potential. If they become discouraged more quickly than they should, they may give up and that next best seller may never be created. Everyone is not going to be a winner, but taking hope away from someone is cruel and soul damaging. How do we know that a person will never succeed? There is more to the formula than perfect writing. The market ideals change and people’s perceptions of what is good also and the part luck plays in it are real. You may get a job just because you are there in the right place at the right time. Some strange turn of events could precipitate your manuscript not being put on the slush pile. We have no way of knowing what the future holds for all of us, but we always should be optimistic so we don’t give up. We should have an ego that is secure enough to question and find and create something new.

Our self-esteem drops when we receive those rejections and soars when a reader praises us. Writers are fragile beings and just like graduates, we need folks to lie to us to keep us going. We need encouragement. We need hope. We need someone to believe in us. Maybe the untruths will become truths if given enough time.

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