Every writer, in the beginning of every book, will discuss those who helped him or her get to where he or she is now. In particular, the acknowledgment section will talk about how this person or that person helped them with research, editing, agent representation, etc in order to get the point across.
As I am mostly a short form writer published in newspapers and magazines, I don’t get to include an acknowledgment in my work. Yet there are countless people who have helped me in this process. This post is just the beginning of it all.
My mother was the first to see and develop my love for writing. She helped me write when I was too young to put words together. She would then have my dad take my “books” to work and make copies. I’d take them to my 1st Grade Class in Girard, KS, and distribute them. I doubt anyone remembers that.
In the 3rd Grade, Mrs. Byrd let me read aloud my stories to my classmates. I will forever remember her as encouraging me, even though at that age, I was basically retelling the stories I was reading at the time (Call of the Wild and White Fang).
Fast-forward to high school and I’m writing like a madman, pushing out hundreds and thousands of words onto the computer screen. We didn’t have a lot of extra money back then, so while some of my friends had Nintendo systems (the original!), or computers with AOL, we didn’t. I would look at ads in magazines and see that I couldn’t afford a computer, but I did buy a typewriter with some money I made while mowing lawns or bailing hay.
Anyway, my high school Lit teacher, Mrs. Johnson, saw my desire to write and would check out a laptop to me as often as I wanted one to take home for the night. I would write and write on that borrowed laptop. I’ll forever be grateful for her acknowledgment of my dream.
My wife now fulfills that role of encourager and champion. She is as happy as I am when another article is published, no matter how little I get paid. When asked, she edits. Mostly, though, she encourages me to pursue the dream. Someday, when I hit it big, I know she’ll let me spend the money on that new boat I’ve been wanting to (let me dream, honey!).
There are others of course, including my first newspaper editor, Warren Watkins, Diane McDougal (editor at EFCA Today). I’ve written about Ms. McDougal before, as well as Mr. Watkins. I’ll cover others periodically as time goes by. If you’ve been instrumental in my writing career, just know your time is coming!