Encouragement and Courage
Happy holidays! Can I just say how amazed I am that SEVEN people sent me queries on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? What’s up with that? Does an agent’s in-box EVER get a rest??? Apparently not. Well, I’m on vacation now so anything that comes in will be unanswered until January. The following is a re-run of a post from last year.
I was speaking to the Denver chapter of ACFW, and several writers mentioned wanting and needing encouragement in their writing journey. It got me thinking (well, everything gets me thinking). It’s a hard business to break into and often the news seems so depressing. They just want to hear something good for a change, something heartening. I pondered… what exactly do we mean by encouragement, anyway?
I have the feeling that sometimes the encouragement writers want (and I include myself in this) is for someone to tell us, “It’s not that hard. You can do it.” And so the reason we keep feeling discouraged is because people keep telling us, “It’s hard. This is a hard business to break into.”
It’s not spoken as discouragement, it’s spoken as truth. There’s no point in having a false sense of optimism about getting a book published—that only leads to disappointment. But if the truth is difficult, can we still somehow find encouragement in it?
Encouragement (according to Webster’s) is something that gives you courage, or inspires you or gives you hope. Something that spurs you on, stimulates you, incites you to action. I think hearing the hard truth CAN be encouraging, because it forces you to make an internal decision: Am I up for this, or not? How much am I willing to give this? How badly do I want it?
And if your passion is sufficient and your drive is powerful, this is the time you rise up and say to yourself, yes, I can do this. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it takes work, perhaps more than I’d want. But I can do this. When you go through this soul-searching and come out of it more determined than ever, you’ve found your encouragement. You’ve found your hope.
The point is that all the platitudes in the world, camoflauged as encouraging words, aren’t going to do anyone a darn bit of good. Only the truth can get you where you want to go. The truth separates the passionate from the daydreamers. The truth leads you to the resolve—the courage, the grit, the sheer perseverance—it will take to find success.
And success is a whole ‘nother topic. We’ll tackle that another day. Until then, be encouraged. On this blog we’ll speak the truth.
Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent affiliated with WordServe Literary Group in Colorado.