I'm fascinated by the story of Captain Charles Plumb, a Navy fighter pilot who was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war. He tells how he was approached by a man in a restaurant.
The man said, "You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years as a prisoner of war."
Captain Plumb responded, "How in the world did you know all that?"
"Because I packed your parachute."
Amazing, huh? If the parachute hadn't been packed correctly, Plumb's story would've ended differently.
Captain Plumb says: "So the philosophical question is this: How's your parachute packing coming along? Who looks to you for strength in times of need? And perhaps, more importantly, who are the special people in your life who provide you the encouragement you need when the chips are down? Perhaps it's time right now to give those people a call and thank them for packing your chute."
When I think about our writing lives, and who's packing our parachutes, these amazing folks come to mind:
Supportive Family & Friends--In my opinion, if your family and friends are supportive of your writing efforts, you've already won half the battle. When I came out of the closet as a writer, my family and friends didn't laugh at me or roll their eyes. They didn't shoot down my dreams or trample over my confidence. Quite the contrary. They're my biggest cheerleaders, and I'm grateful for every single one of them.
Are you out of the closet as a writer? If so, how did your friends and family react when you told them?
Critique Partners--Our critique partners offer their time and energy to help make our manuscripts better. They offer pats on the back for what we do right, and constructive feedback for something that doesn't work well. They lift us up when we're feeling discouraged, and cheer with us when we achieve milestones. My critique partners have made this journey a heck of a lot of fun.
Do you belong to a critique group, or do you have beta readers? How have they inspired you?
Agents & Editors--If you're lucky enough to have an agent or editor, you've personally experienced their hard work and determination. I don't have experience with a book editor (yet!), but my agent is a tireless advocate for her clients. Karen Grencik is smart, kind, and encouraging. Even if I never sign a book deal, I'll be glad that she's in my life.
Have you worked with agents or editors? How did they improve your manuscripts?
Blogger Buddies--Blogger/writer buddies help each other with blog tours, and spread the word about book releases. They share new agent alerts, or what writing lessons they've learned. I'm constantly amazed by how awesome all of you are. I know I sound like a broken record, but seriously, you rock my world.
You guys inspire me every single day, and I'm so thankful for you.
As evidenced by the Random Act of Kindness Blitz by the wonderful gals at The Bookshelf Muse, we've seen amazing kindness from one writer to another. We value the people in our lives, those who have packed our parachutes, and it's great when we take a moment to thank them. And who knows, maybe you're packing someone else's parachute right now, and making a positive difference in their life.
Who's packed your parachute lately? Do they know how grateful you are? Please share!