It Takes a Village
“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” ~ Misty Copeland
I feel incredibly thankful for many reasons. Even when life can be pretty sucky (which it kind of was this weekend), there is still always something or someone to be grateful for. I am always reminded of that this time of year. Ironically it isn’t because of Turkey (or Tofurkey) Day. Nope, it has been the people who have been my support system throughout NaNoWriMo. They have been my rock (stars), walked me back to sanity, not to mention those who acted like my therapist this month. From my mom, to Gemini Twin, to my man friend, to my writing group to countless others, I am so incredibly grateful for you all.
Writing might seem like a solitary endeavor, but it really isn’t. Behind the writer sitting at her desk, penning her thoughts, is a village. It doesn’t start with a manuscript reader, or an agent or a publisher, or the countless people who decide to take that chance on you. Nor does it start with those who edit your words, design your jacket cover, or help get your book into production.
It begins well before the pen is put to paper. Before you wait for Scrivener to load and to start clacking away on those keys.
It begins in elementary school with a teacher who says you can be a writer. With a mom and dad who raises you to work hard to follow your dreams regardless of how high they might seem. From family to friends, to coworkers, t begins with people who encourage you even before the craziness starts, and are willing to put up with it. Or perhaps just use blinders.
Yes it definitely does take a village regardless of how cliche it sounds.
My Mom had been a huge rock listening to me as I lament about plot twists and characters having a mind of their own (where I am sure she is thinking…Hmm much like my daughter…Yeah yeah yeah.) She will post daily to my Facebook wall, encouraging me as only a mom can. Who listens as I scream-talk about my computer not working, or unsaved work that got deleted. A mom whom since I was little taught me to follow my dreams, even if that is to be a starving artist or Nancy Drew.
To my Gemini Twin whom has dealt with my crazy texts, offered to read my manuscript (which FYI since she is an editor so means the world and yeah she really is kickass) and willingly float ideas with me. She sends me silly memes that are so on fleek I am even using that word. She hasn’t just offered support, but genuinely has made me smile and laugh through this entire crazy journey and has every year since I have known her. She has brought sanity into this world (probably because she knows it so well) and I am grateful for her that I have not pulled a road runner and gone crazy.
Relationships aren’t easy and this month puts a strain on even the best of ones with trying to juggle not just word counts, but life outside of this crazy undertaking. When you come across the good eggs, those friends, or lover, who are willing to also talk you down, or make sure you eat. Those who help you celebrate your word count milestones that lead to bigger moments, or take you to a Broadway show because you need a break. You know you are part of the most amazing kula and are surrounded by a crazy amount of love. Especially when they overlook your Coockoo for Cocoa Puff moments.
One of the biggest boons to a writer are the writing groups both online and in the city (or where ever you live). They get it. They really, really, really get it. They truly understand “We are All in this together.” (I really hope you sang that like High School Musical) These groups help you troubleshoot plot twists, character hijackings, and help you through the I have just plain I lost it moments. We are each others cheerleaders. And we really truly are. Jealousy competition. It doesn’t exist. Those moments I have wanted to throw up my hands, or start over, or focus on something that isn’t helpful they have been the voice of reason. I am so grateful to be surrounded by a fabulous group of people who share the same passion and goals that I do.
I would be remiss if I did not mention my baristas. These beautiful people who have given me sustenance (and even more of a caffeine addiction) to fuel my writing binges. Many times I just have to walk though the door and they are already preparing my drink. When I get a reprieve and go up for another round and I look like I just battled an ogre. They are the ones cheering me on, adding and extra shot and cute design and telling me I can do it.
Their are countless people in my life, regardless of how close both in distance and in the personal of each other who have given me strength wisdom and a fuller heart knowing how much I am not just supported but loved. What an incredible feeling that is.
Art for the artist can be an incredibly trying and vulnerable time. It can make us at our worse, cynical and jaded and discouraged. It can make us feel alone. But we aren’t. We have that village. Because it does indeed take one to make us who we are. I have so much gratitude for those who have shown me at my worst that I am not alone and that I can do it.
It really is a village that I do not want to move out of anytime soon. For that I am incredibly thankful for.