The effect of nurture… in a landscape, on a writer


When I’m struggling through a bad writing day I’m always amazed at what happens when someone unexpectedly blesses me with a bit of encouragement. It’s nurturing. It’s like irrigation to a barren landscape.

Nowhere is the impact of water more evident than in arid locales near Cache Creek in south central British Columbia. My recent vacation trip took me along a highway that paralleled the Fraser and Thompson rivers. The water was there, racing through deep slices in the dry and rocky mountains. Only where industrious farmers had installed pumps, waterlines and sprinklers, accessing that water and transferring it to their thirsty crops, did the dusty brown soil support lush green growth.

A lot of nurture happens in the writing community. The pursuit of publication is often likened to a challenging climb up the ladder where aspiring novelists receive advice and assistance from more advanced writers above them, and in turn pay it back by helping those who are less experienced on a lower rung.

But have you ever considered those more experienced, successfully published authors might also need nurturing in the way of support and encouragement? A little praise, recognition of editing or scheduling stress, perhaps commiseration over an undeserved bad review, all can raise spirits and help someone move forward in their writing career.

Remember, just like the effect of irrigation in a desert, a little colour in a day’s mundane landscape can makes a big impact.  In what ways could you add a bit of colour to an author’s day? Or what kind of encouragement would you welcome?

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I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God … So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?” [Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, 22 – NIV]


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If I Had to Pick Just One Book…

Now that the weekend entertaining is done and the omelet pans washed, I’m putting my feet up and settling in for a quiet Monday morning read.


In mid-May I mentioned my shelf filled with books on writing.  In comparison to some writers, my library isn’t all that impressive. There are many more volumes that I would love to own. There is so much to learn and I expect to be making discoveries until the end of my days.


As I went to my bookcase this morning I thought about the titles I reach for most often. My two faves are not ‘how to’ books to educate my mind on the creating and crafting process. Instead, they provide encouragement for my sometimes-fragile writing spirit.


Their titles say it all: Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to loving the Craft by Jane Yolen, and Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer’s Life by Bonni Goldberg. There are times when I don’t need to be told how to write. I just need a little nurturing. These books nurture.


But please don’t ask me to pick just one of them!