Ack! It’s the first Wednesday of the month, July 2 already! Summer slips away here in the north country. Traffic is building as the city folk are moving in for the Fourth of July Celebration, good lake time, and enjoying that week of summer heat that we usually get. (It was 55 degrees F. out last night and we shivered at the baseball game!) So, today, I am whipping out another installment for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by the best writing supporter of all time, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Check his blog for more details on the group, his great blogging community, and books. Thank you, Alex, for all you do!
Quote of the Day: Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (my absolute favorite words from the Bible)
And, another great one: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin (muck of life) that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Hebrews 12:1
We all have a purpose. Our words and art are meant to be born in us and travel out into the world. Don’t let the muck of life drag you down! The muck can be your insecurities, your self-doubts, harmful comparisons, and ugly competition. If we start to believe that we are on the same team and build each other up, we will all prosper.
In the past month, I have been witness to some unpleasant competitive and ego problems among adults. On the flip side, I witnessed the beautiful sharing of ideas and encouragement between kids who were in my writing workshop. The adults were taking sides, sending nasty emails, and criticizing each other in a public platform. The kids were grouping together, shouting words of praise, and patting each other on the back. Who do you think went to bed with a happier feeling inside? Which of these groups jumped out of bed in the morning, eager to meet up again and share their creations? Which email do you think I was afraid to open?
We grown-ups have been conditioned for competition. We compare ourselves to other people, and other people to each other. We stack one up against another. We forget entirely that even in sports, some of us are on the same team! Do you ever fret about this? That someone wrote the book you had been thinking about, same subject matter, same age of characters? Did someone else paint a picture you’d been imagining? Did someone open a studio or start a theater that now feels like competition? We can’t help but feel what we feel, and we can learn from it. We can also embrace another person’s creativity and build them up. We have a choice to see their contribution and excellence as a way of enhancing our own and the art form we both love. We can do books, stories, shows, and music that compliment each other. Heck, maybe even collaborate.
In this world of too much competition, try to surround yourself with a cloud of witnesses, the ones who encourage you and build you up. And, in turn, be the kind of supportive person you want on your team. Share other people’s work, repost on facebook, buy the book, attend the reading, art exhibit or performance. Say, “Good job. I’m proud of you. What’s your next project?” Pat each other on the back once in a while!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: How have you been an encouraging friend lately?