A lot has happened over the last five-plus years since I wrote this agency blog post on Encouraging Writers.
While I don’t think I would change the substance of it for today, still, over the last several years, between Covid lockdowns, the growth of virtual work, and societal institutions seemingly dissolving, we probably have a different perspective on many things in life now.
From engaging in a casual conversation with a neighbor to gathering with friends and family, from working in person to worshipping together, we have been convinced that virtual gathering is a higher form of engagement because of its convenience, cost, and perceived “safety.”
A nice note (even an email) to a friend is always appreciated. A warm phone call is a highlight of the day for anyone. However, Christian authors need to gather together in person. As I mentioned in the above post from 2018, since writing is a solitary endeavor, it can be a lonely pursuit for many.
Endless hours of pondering, writing, and rewriting leave plenty of open doors for discouragement. But there is an antidote.
True encouragement requires presence, not only words.
Writers groups of all sizes (where two or more are gathered is a writers group) are the best way to encourage others and be encouraged. Writers conferences are excellent; but they will never replace the regular, organic gathering of colleagues and friends speaking truth and courage into the lives of others face-to-face.
Regardless of your situation, you must encourage those around you in any way you can. Encouragement of other believers should be the air Christians exhale regardless of stage or place in life.
For writers who have experienced a measure of success, you can speak about overcoming the bumps and stumps you’ve tripped over on your journey, encouraging others to keep going.
For those just getting started, don’t assume someone ahead of you on the writing road is having an easy journey without self-doubt. Your encouragement might get them through a tough time, just as others’ words have done for you at times.
And for sure, the byproduct of encouraging others is that you will be encouraged. As Christ-followers, encouragement is one of the many things that benefit the giver as much as the receiver. It’s part of God’s plan:
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25 NIV)
Encourage other writers with your presence, especially now.