In the back of my novels, I acknowledge those who helped me research and/or write that book. But my writing life has been impacted by numerous people, other than those listed in Acknowledgements.
Early in my writing life, I took classes from author Stephanie Tolan. Stephanie told me I had promise and convinced me to keep at it. She gave me confidence. I would never have known about Stephanie’s classes except for my friend, Bunnie Dickhaus, who suggested I give them a try. Thanks, Bunnie and Stephanie.
I have mentioned the Highlights Foundation Workshops in my Acknowledgments, but I might never have heard about this wonderful organization if not for three friends. Nancy Hanner, Julie Nicholas, and Mary Maass told me I needed to go to the Highlights Foundation Workshop at Chautauqua, the precursor to the workshops they now offer. Nancy told me it would change my life. It did. My introduction to the Highlights Foundation was at Chautauqua in 1999. I was hooked, and their workshops taught me more about writing and publishing than any other conferences or classes I have attended. Thanks, Nancy, Julie, and Mary.
In 2012, another friend, Connie Wooldridge, asked me to go with her to a writing retreat being offered by Editor Carolyn Yoder. I turned her down, in part because I didn’t feel I met the qualifications for attendees. Connie didn’t take No for an answer. She called them to check how I might qualify, and they agreed to take me. I was working on a novel called Like a River, which Carolyn Yoder went on to edit and publish. Thanks, Connie.
These people were life changers for me. Bunnie, Stephanie, Nancy, Julie, Mary, and Connie had no idea how their actions would impact my career. Neither did I, but I consider it a lesson. We never know what a word of encouragement, a friendly suggestion, or an invitation might mean to someone.
Chances are you have changed someone’s life, even if you don’t realize it. Always try to be a change for the better.