Nancy J. Farrier has been the coordinator for FHL’s IRCA for fourteen years. She is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest and interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Karen Ball of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her web site.
Many of you know from reading my blog post in early July that I love to ride my bike. I want to go touring, get a chance to see new places, meet new people, and share God’s love when he provides the opportunity. Plus, I can see turning my experiences into some great fiction. My quest started a year ago, and at first, bike riding wasn’t easy. I struggled to ride 15 or 20 minutes and it took time to be brave enough to cross major roads and highways.
Last fall, when my daughter, Ardra, and I had been cycling about three months, we decided to ride to the library to return some books. The cool Saturday morning air felt good on the four mile ride. My husband had decided to join us and the three of us crossed major roadways without incident. We weren’t fast, but we got there. As we waited for a stoplight before entering the library parking lot, I noticed a group of people, some with bicycles and jerseys, standing there talking. I wondered what they were doing, but the light turned and my daughter and I peddled across heading for the outdoor book drop.
As we rode into the parking area, the whole group began to clap and cheer. They were loud. They were staring at us. They were yelling things like – “Way to go,” “You made it,” and “Good job.” We began to laugh. I couldn’t figure out what we’d done that was worth cheering. I waved at them as we rode past. When we stopped at the book drop, Ardra managed to stop laughing long enough to ask what that was all about. I had no idea, but we decided to find out.
We rode over to talk with these cyclists. It turned out they were part of a reverse triathlon event that was taking place that day. They thought we were just finishing the bike riding portion, so that is why they cheered. They wanted to encourage us as others had encouraged them.
And we were inspired. Talking with them helped me see that I could do this. Now I wanted to ride farther and longer. I may not have put in the miles needed for a triathlon, but I was no longer a complete couch potato. Doing the eight mile round trip ride meant next time I could go farther and faster. My muscles were getting stronger. I didn’t gasp like a fish out of water. Well, not all the time.
As I think about that experience in terms of writing, I recall my early days, or early manuscripts. I wanted to write. I had to write. However, I knew nothing. I didn’t understand point of view. I didn’t know how to write dialogue. I knew nothing about character arc. As with the bicycling, I had to practice to improve. Once I mastered point of view, I went on to learn deep point of view—something I’m still striving towards.
Along the way, I’ve had many people cheer me on—not always for great accomplishments, but for working toward the goal. I feel that is what we should always be doing for others. As a very silent part of the FHL, Finish the Book Loop, I love the way they encourage one another. Recently the loop had been very quiet, so people were asked to say what they’d been working on. For everyone who replied, several jumped in to encourage—whether they had finished a book, or only wanted to write, but life interfered. I could feel that love and encouragement coming through each email.
Perhaps our purpose is twofold. First, we want to be there for each other—no matter where we all are in our writing experience. Second, we have to be able to graciously accept the support of others. For me, this isn’t always easy. Just like with the cheering as we rode into that parking lot, I get embarrassed. I want to explain why I don’t deserve the praise. Instead, I need to learn to simply say, “Thank you,” and give the glory to God.
I see us as the Faith, Hope and Love chapter emboldening authors wherever they are in the process. Just wrote a first chapter? YAY!! Entered a contest for the first time? YOU GO!! Had a sick family member, but you thought about writing? GOOD FOR YOU!! Won a contest? HOORAY!! Published you first book, second book, umpteenth book? APPLAUSE!! Even if we feel we haven’t done much to deserve the cheers, each step in our calling from God is worthy of encouragement.
How about you? Have you ever been embarrassed over praise received? Do you take the time to encourage others, or cheer them on?