Friday Writing Question: Who?

Hey SE Readers. Joan with you today. It’s time for another writing question.

All of us have people who have impacted our lives. Most of the time, we think of people who have had a positive influence.

Yet other times, a person may have made negative remarks that we took to heart. Encouraging words can go a long way. Discouragement, if not overcome, lasts a lifetime.

For example, one of my best friends changed her college major because of negative remarks made by a professor. This “teacher” had the audacity to call my friend’s writing worthless in front of the entire class. “Ann” left that day with her tail tucked between her legs and changed to her major to math.

But the desire to write never left her. Years later, she began writing again.  She didn’t give up. Finally came the day came when a nationally published magazine accepted one of her stories for publication. It took a while, but she did not allow that teacher’s snide remarks to get her down. (I think I would have mailed an autographed copy of the magazine to the teacher, but my friend isn’t that kind of person.)

This brings me to today’s question:

Who has had the biggest influence on your life as a writer?

It can be someone who has encouraged you, but it can also be the person who was discouraging.

You don’t have to give names, but please share your thoughts.

39 thoughts on “Friday Writing Question: Who?

  1. I am my own influencer. I haven’t truly written anything since my college days and recently I decided to get back into. I find it funny how much I hated writing those long essays back then, but now I really enjoy writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am fortunate to have many supporters. Parents, siblings, friends, husband, children. There will always be someone that doesn’t like what you write. I have comments like that too. You have to be true to yourself and keep plugging along.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hands down, the person who has had the most influence on me as a writer is my sister. See, she isn’t just my sister, she is a USA Today and NY Times bestselling author. She’s been a great mentor and cheerleader, but she never hesitates to tell me when I’m getting it wrong. Great post, Joan!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. As a retired teacher, I have a hard time getting past the professor’s awful remarks. Congratulations to your friend for her persistence and belief in herself.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    Joan Hall asked an interesting question on Story Empire Friday Writing Question. Stop by and take a look. Check out the comments, too, and then pass it along for the others to enjoy. Thanks, and thanks for a great post, Joan! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Well, I’m sorry to say it wouldn’t be my parents. They thought writing was a ridiculous way to try to earn a living, put the kibosh on the college scholarship I was up for, and insisted I get a business diploma from high school. To be fair, they thought they were being truthful and giving me sensible advice. And to be honest about myself, I was such an insecure person, had I tried writing all those decades ago, I’d have given up. The first rejection letter would have done me in.

    But fast forward about 50 years, and along came several very special people who loved my “Who’s Your Granny?” blogging efforts and said I should write a novel. Most influential of all was my good friend, graphic artist and my cover designer, Nicki Forde-Ficocelli. Nicki was absolutely convinced I could write books. Once I got it through my head it wasn’t too late to late to try, I got brave enough to write one, just to prove to myself I could. Six years later, I’m still hard at it and daring to hope I get a few more stories out there before I fall face down on the keyboard–which I’ve always said would be a pretty good way to go.

    Lastly, I would be totally remiss not to add nearly every single online writer I’ve met since I finally started the journey I’d always wanted to take. You have all been so supportive and encouraging, it astounds me daily. I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Marcia, your story is a bit like mine, although my parents didn’t discourage me. Mom tried to get me to submit some poems I wrote when I was younger, but I was afraid to share. But I knew when I was ten-years-old I wanted to be a writer. Finally, in 2007, I decided to take some online writing classes. I shared a piece of writing with a friend and the rest is history. The first few years I wrote non-fiction but fiction was what I’d always wanted to write. So now I’m getting close to retirement and I look forward to the day when I can write full time! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. It’s never too late to begin! (And I’m so glad you are writing!)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m a firm believer that everything happens when and how it’s supposed to, and you and I weren’t meant to start writing one day sooner than we did. Having said that, I’m pretty darn glad it’s finally happening now, and perhaps I appreciate it all more than I would have in my early years. Who knows? My grandmother always said anything worth having was worth working for, so now we ARE. 🙂 And when I look back on my life, there are very few things I’d do differently, as it turns out. I hope you feel pretty much the same way. 🙂

        Glad you are finally writing, too!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I had a creative writing teacher in High School insist I copied my paper, a teen survey, out of a magazine. I didn’t. I think that pushed me to prove her wrong, I could write like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good for you! Proof that a negative situation can motivate. Can’t believe the nerve of that teacher. I seem to recall a similar incident when I was in school. It didn’t happen to me but I think a teacher accused a classmate of copying something.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. My husband thought of me as a writer before I ever did. He’s the one who enrolled me in a continuing education class Writing For Fun and Profit. I thought of myself as a teacher, but he kept asking when I was going to write my next short story. Should I try to write a book? He always believed my writing was too good to get distracted from. (And I was easily distracted). I don’t know if I’d have stuck with it without his encouragement.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I really can’t answer this one. I’ve had supporters and detractors just like everyone else, but it’s not like choosing a piece of a puzzle and talking about it. It’s more like a piece of sawdust in a mountain of the stuff. Overall, the online writing community is the biggest piece of pressboard created with that dust.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I have a lot of supporters, but I think my mom and dad are probably at the top of the list. The second I declared creative writing as one of my majors in college, my dad started asking when I was going to write a novel. My mom tells everyone she meets about my work.

    I recently posted we lost a family member (my husband’s aunt). She was probably just below them on the list. She was always clamoring for me to write more and publish faster, as she devoured every word. She also told everyone she met about my books.

    You can’t buy that kind of loyalty. Word of mouth is the best publicity. And that interest and devotion is priceless.

    When I was in college, I was still writing poetry. My first poetry professor convinced me to try to get one of my poems published. And it was accepted to the anthology I sent it to. My second poetry professor hated everything I wrote and made sure to tell the whole class. I haven’t written poetry since. My mom and dad still see him on their local news sometimes. Just hearing his name still inspires all sorts of negative emotions. The good news is I was destined to write fiction, not poetry, so maybe he did me a favor.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Having a supportive family helps. Back in my teenage years I wrote poetry. My mom encouraged me to share them but I was too afraid or unsure. Dad never knew I wanted to become a writer but I know he would have supported me.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That professor shouldn’t be teaching! I can’t imagine derailing someone’s career ambitions. I’m glad your friend rediscovered her love of writing.

    My biggest supporters were my parents. From the time I first showed an interest in writing, way back in grade school, they provided amazing support and encouragement. I also had many teachers through the years who added to that encouragement. It makes all the difference when others believe you can!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. My husband has been my biggest supporter and cheerleader for over 20 years – a structural engineer who can put professionals to shame with his amazing proofreading skills. It started with a high school teacher, though, who was wowed by a short short story I wrote on a whim for an assignment. I’ve been lucky, my path has been dotted along the way by encouraging people.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s wonderful, Theresa! And to have a proofreader right in your house is wonderful! My husband also supports me, but he isn’t a reader. He’ll tell people about my books and encourage me, but he’s never read one. LOL Now if one were made into a movie, it would be another matter. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Over the years, I’ve taught him how to give me pretty good feedback too – by encouraging him to tell me what he feels about something and not to worry about technical terms. At first, he would fall back on the “you have the English degree” excuse but eventually, he came around and is usually on point. :). And luckily, he is a book-lover!

        Liked by 2 people

  13. This is a thought-provoking post. Thanks, Joan. My discouragers were many and closely related. It took me 40 years to get out from under that cloud of zero self esteem and actually write and publish a book. My biggest encouragers are all of you folks. The writing community is awesome and so supportive. Diving into that has been the best thing I’ve ever done (ooops, better add an exception there … except for marrying hubby this year!! lol). Reblogged on: … An interesting question and a thought-provoking post over on Story Empire today >>>

    Liked by 3 people

    • Those discouragers can really get us down. Then at times, we can be so determined to prove them wrong they motivate us in the right directions. I agree the writing community is an amazing group of people!

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Pingback: Friday Writing Question: Who? – Guam Christian Blog

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