Thursday, September 10, 2009

Encourage, Don't Discourage

Last weekend I participated in another of those 180 mile relay races. This time I ran with a team of all women from my neighborhood, and some of them had only run a mile or two at a time before this May (as in 4 months ago). It was an adventure and an accomplishment.

I came away from the experience with more than just some sore muscles.
  • I have some great memories: texting hilarious things to the husband of a sleeping team member on her phone. (Yes, sleep deprivation was alive and kicking).

  • Some great pictures:

  • A new love for KT tape:

  • And a renewed epiphany.

I often run alone--just me, my iPod, and the rising sun. But for this race I had my own cheering section, and I ran faster and better than during any of my training. I know some of that can be attributed to adrenalin, but a lot of it has to do with my van full of cheerleaders and support staff. They followed me and cheered me on, offered me water or whatever I needed, shouted encouragement, and told me when I was done that I did a good job. And our team did that with every single runner. For the entire 31 hours and 4 minutes of the race.

Never once did I hear stuff like: "You're running too slow." "You can do better than that." or "What are you doing trying to race with the real runners?"

What I did hear were things like:" "You can do it!" "Keep going." "Only a little more to go." "You're looking good." "Great job!" and "Shake your booty!" (But that's only because we're good friends.)

It was always encouragement and support, and never discouragement. There were even a couple times teammates got out and ran next to the runner to help them on.

Are you ready for the running/writing parallel? Cause here it comes.

Writing is often a solo pursuit, where it's just you, your muse, and your words. But just like being on a team helped me run better, being part of a writing team can help us write better, especially if it's one that encourages, rather than discourages. There's no shortage of discouragement in this business, but I've also found a lot of encouraging voices, too. There are authors and agents and editors out there shouting encouragement, advice, and support.

So if you don't feel like you have a team to help spur you on, let me volunteer. *jumping up and down* *yelling* *doing a one-legged toe-touch (because my cheering days are waaaay past me)*

You can do it!

Keep going!

Only a little more to go!

Don't worry about the hill ahead. It looks bigger than it is!

Keep writing! Believe in yourself! You can do it!

And you can shake your booty, too, if you want. ;)

*I also have to admit that my mother uses this motto for her piano teaching. Now if we can be our own cheerleaders, right?)

Has anyone said anything to encourage you and help you keep you going?


Don said...

Yay, encouragement!

I guess that's what my bloggy buddies are for. That, and writer's group and writer's conferences. Especially LDStorymakers - that's enough encouragement to last half a year!

(Looking forward to seeing what you and Tristi put together for next year, by the way. Go! Go! Yay!)

Now you just need to figure out how to get that van of cheerleaders to follow you around on your regular morning run.

Deborah said...

Hey.... My Motto for kids.

ElanaJ said...

This is so true. I think it's important that we all have someone to cheer us on. I'm going to use you, okay? Okay.

Noble M Standing said...

I am deep in the serious editing mode with my finished MS. I am working chapter by chapter with my editor to make the book as great as possible. Somedays the work seems overwhelming somedays it's easy.
But I have an awesome editor. She's allways telling me what good work I am doing and I am buoyed by that. I know that I am doing a good thing. I know that I am valuable all because she believes in me.

I also have awesome friends who do the same thing.

L.T. Elliot said...

Jaime, I don't know if you're aware of how incredible you are but if not, let me tell you. You are an absolute bonfire of talent and kindness. Thank you for all you do--for everyone.