Family Support in Writing
M. J. Welcome
Recently I was asked to share my family’s reaction to my writing both positive and negative. The positive side is easy because my sons and my husband have been supporters of my writing from the beginning. They encourage me, help me edit my work, and give me helpful criticism by asking difficult questions, which forces me to clarify areas of ambiguity.
There were times when I felt so low because rejection letters poured in. I was at the brink of giving up. I thought I would never make it as a writer. My family stepped in and spoke words of reassurance. They focused on what was good about my storyline or characters. They identified areas in which my writing had improved and gently told me what I could do to make the piece stronger.
I have never enjoyed the technical side of the English language. Grammar, punctuations, tenses, or adjectives were never areas of strength. In college, I would have people reread my work until it was “perfect”. I knew my shortcoming, so I relied on those who were better to review my work until it was ready for submission. My husband Dwain is wonderful at this.
When I decided to pursue writing as a career, I knew I had to learn to edit for myself. So I took note of what my family said was a pattern and I consciously tried to look for those problems in my writing. I joined critique groups, read articles and books on editing; I was also a judge for several years, in the Inspirational category of the Silicon Valley RWA chapter’s ‘Gotcha!’ writing contest.
Thanks to practice and loving support, I have made drastic improvements and now I’m able to edit and proofread other writers work with expertise.
In the beginning, I was defensive when people asked questions about what I wrote. I viewed it as criticism. Then Dwain took time to explain why he asked questions it reduced my sensitivity. Questions help to clarify things, they offer areas of further exploration or development, and ignite a creative spark.
Although some questions are asked to belittle or tear down a person and their writing, others offer a beautiful opportunity to hone and create something that is even more splendid than the original draft.
Family support may be a rare thing for many writers, but when you have it, you are truly blessed.
M. J. Welcome is a public speaker, copywriter, proofreader, and author. Her books include Overcome Secret Sins in 15 Days, Battling for the Light, The Adventures of Charmaine the Cockroach, Bella’s Dream, Debate Handbook: The Smart Way to Exercise the Mind! (Volume 1), Excuse Me! Let Me Speak…A Young Person’s Guide to Public Speaking, The Excuse Me! Let Me Speak Teachers Manual, The Excuse Me! Let Me Speak Student Guide The Easy Way to Write and Deliver a Great Speech!, and The Smart Guide to Public Speaking.
Michelle is also a publisher and editor at Smart House Publishing located in Far Rockaway, New York. She lives with her husband Dwain and their two sons.
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