As the end of the year rolls around, I think back to a conversation I had with a friend. Yes, I have those. Conversations and friends. Crazy, right?
We had mutual friends going through some rough circumstances.
"I feel helpless right now because all I have is words," my friend said.
His feelings of helplessness echoed my own at the time, but it was something I reflected on a bit later. Just words.
And yet, words have a power to them that is difficult to describe. And enough people have written on the subject that I won't give you an essay about it here.
It's sufficient to say that I understand the power of a well-timed word. And even when we feel that something "goes without saying," sometimes, it's best to express it anyway. Express it even when you think people already know.
Let me tell you something that maybe you don't need to be told. Because I want you to know how much you've helped me. I want you to know how much I appreciate you.
No, really. Thank you. This piece is for everyone who has helped me on my writing journey.
That's what it's been. A journey. And I want to remember the people who have been there for me through it.
It all started when...
Can you ever pinpoint the exact moment when something started?
It started when my mom started reading me stories. She would read to me all the time. I grew up immersed in the wonder of stories.
I loved to play pretend. My sisters and I would make up stories and dress up to play the parts. I would inevitably have a sword regardless of the character I was playing.
It started with all those half-finished stories printed in pencil in a little kid's handwriting.
It started with writing speeches for the American Legion Oratory Contest.
It started after Christmas my junior year of college, with a handmade journal made of recycled paper and an idea for a wizard-like character in a top hat.
It started when my friend Peter told me about National Novel Writing Month and his straightforward attitude of "Why can't you write a novel?"
It started when my friend Nathan was the first person to read my first draft all the way through. He helped me believe that maybe people would want to read my work.
Regardless of where you start it, it's been a great journey. I don't pretend to have figured it out. I know a lot more about freelance writing than I did back in March when I had no idea about SEO or my niche.
Thanks for helping me get better.
Along the way, people have supported me in different ways. There have been those who have inspired me by sharing their own work with me. I understand the amount of courage it takes to be vulnerable in this way. For those of you who have shared your work with me, thank you. Thank you to Koleman, Suzannah, Emma, and Sarah especially. You have inspired me, and your work encourages me to keep creating.
Some have offered feedback. This category is broad. Many people who have read my work have helped me improve by providing genuine feedback. I want to specifically thank Brian and Quinn. You have helped stretch me as a writer and have helped me focus on giving my writing a personal touch that helps me connect with the reader. Thank you for your honesty and critiques.
Others have helped me find writing opportunities to expand my portfolio. And while I have gained many of my clients through scouring job boards and lots of emails, I want to thank my Aunt for giving me the opportunity to start the blog for her website. You are the best.
Thanks, Jon, for all your help. It's crazy to think that we took karate together over five years ago. And it's crazy where you run into people again. Thanks for helping me explore and research my interests in mental health for the Calming Wind Counseling Services blog. It meant so much to me to have your help when I first started, and I love writing for your group.
Thanks to Lydia and David for putting up with me this summer. I love how great you guys were about "Okay, she needs to go sit in a corner and just write for a while." It meant a lot. And thanks for reading my work too.
Thank you to my family for all your help, love, and support. You are my favorite people. You continue to show me over and over again what love looks like.
To Justin and Tamara, thank you. Thank you for being there for me and for always pointing me back to who I truly am and where to find hope. Getting to know the two of you has been a highlight for me this year.
Thank you to everyone who has read my work!
If you've ever read one of my pieces, thank you. Even if you don't tell me, thank you. When you see me or send me a message that says you read my thing, I look genuinely thankful outwardly. "Thank you so much," I say. And in my head, I go, "They actually took the time to read my thing?" Inner happy squeal.
And it moved you in some way? You thought it was good? It resonated with you? It made you laugh? It made you cry in a good way? Worth it. Worth it.
Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read my work and say something.
Thank you to the people who made Vocal accounts just so they could leave hearts on my work. That makes me so happy inside. Thank you. Thank you to Janice, Ed, and Ken, especially.
Thank you to the people who have shared their own stories and why they liked my work. Special thanks to Donna. I love the stories you have shared with me.
Thank you to Jeremy, Don, Calla, John, Shannon and Wayne, Matt, Carl and Jan, Sarah, Eddie, Rob, Benji, Bob, Scott, Elise, Rick, John and Lena, Ruth and Tom, Louise, Lisa, Austin, Carrie, Tori, Karen, Shelly, Josiah, Hannah, Jovanni, Emily, Derick and Kim, Rodney and Melanie, Kathryn, Sharleen and Don, Hunter, Robbie, and Patricia. And thank you to anyone who has read my work.
Here's to a new year!
If there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that we all need people. We need support, and we're not meant to do it on our own. We need to ask for help, and we need to learn over and over again that we're not perfect.
I don't know what the future holds. I hope it includes lots of writing and coffee. But to all of you who have helped me, just know that I remember. I haven't forgotten the people who have supported me along the way. Never underestimate the power you have to make a difference in people's lives when you support their work. Because as confident as anyone looks, we're all a little insecure inside. And when we have people who support us, it can mean the world.
Here's to a great new year ahead, full of wonder and stories. Keep being a light to the people around you, and keep being kind.
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About the Creator
Passionate writer that is enthusiastic about writing engaging, compelling content. Excels in breaking down complex concepts into simple terms and connecting with readers through sharing stories and personal experience.