I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Who are You Thankful For?

You won't get very far along the writing road without the help of others you meet along the way.

As I pondered this truth, I thought about all the different people who've pointed me in the right direction as I've walked this road. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the kindness of others. Writers. Editors. Agents. Mentors. Critique partners.

I could mention the elementary and high school and college teachers who influenced me. But for the sake of brevity--what do you expect from a journalist?--I'll focus on the past 10 years when I've pursued writing, after having veered off the writing road for a variety of reasons.

I took the Christian Writers Guild's Apprentice Course to scrape the rust off my journalism degree. My mentor, Kathy Tyers, gave me pats on the back when I earned them. But she didn't hesitate to tell me when my writing was trite--challenging me to rewrite and improve my writing.

Scoti Domeij became my "joined at the hip/got your back" critique partner. We had to learn to trust one another before we could give each other worthwhile critiques. But trust each other we do. We know each others' voices--and we respect them.

Beth Jusino published my first article in MomSense magazine. (I'm now the editor of MOPS International's leadership magazine, Connections.) She brainstormed my first book idea with me--and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. But, more importantly, she is my friend.

My dear friend and fellow writer Roxanne Sherwood didn't laugh when I confessed I was trying to write a novel--and she never hung up when I called and asked, "Will you read this scene before I go to critique group?" Bestselling author Donita K. Paul invited me to join her critique group--and encouraged this fledgling member of the "Dark Side," while introducing me to new critique partners Evangeline Denmark and Mary Agius.

The amazing award winning author Susan May Warren could never know I came to the 2010 Storycrafters Retreat asking God one question: Should I seriously pursue writing fiction? He used her to answer that question when she looked at me across the room on Saturday night and said, "You can so write fiction, Beth!" I continue to follow her into the wild adventure of writing breathtaking fiction.

And then there are the Ponderers--friends and prayer partners extraordinaire. I could devote an entire column to these amazing women, my treasured companions along the writing road. I would not want to be on this journey without them.

So, what about you? Who are you thankful for? Who has helped you along the writing road?

The MBT Ponderers have put together a Thankful Basket. If you’d like to have a chance to win our basket of goodies, leave a comment during the month of November. Share a thought about a blog post or tell us what you’re thankful for!


  1. I love that you're on this writing journey with me. Finally, you've stopped wondering if you can write fiction; you've proven you can. I can't wait until I hold your novel in my hands.

    Mostly, though, I'm thankful that you've always got five minutes to talk.

  2. Excellent, amazing, so thankful for you and Susie and Ponderers and this fulfilling, occasionally frustrating but always satisfying journey. GORGEOUS photo, too. Surprising since we hear you have snow today.

  3. Roxanne, one day we should add up all our "Got 5?" phone calls! They're the foundation of this friendship, in some ways.

  4. Dee--walking the road together gets us through the frustrating times, doesn't it?

    Snow? Not in my part of Colorado--not yet, anyway.

  5. Excellent post, Beth. I think it's so important to acknowledge those who've encouraged us along this very rocky path.

    My husband is my loudest cheerleader. I'm blessed to have his support.

    I have a handful of 1st readers who bravely read the first draft of my very first manuscript (shudder) & they're the ones who said "keep writing."

    And now I have the best critique partners ever.

    There are so many others. Writing is far from a solitary endeavor. Thanks for encouraging us to remember them.

  6. Brenda--thanks for mentioning your husband. My husband Rob stayed up late to read over this post before I wrapped it up. He started reading romances (mine) because I asked him, "Hey, would you read this chapter for me and make sure my guy sounds like a guy?" Now, that's a hero for you!

  7. Love the picture, Beth.

    I meant to post all month long on my blog about the people I am thankful and grateful for, especially along my writing journey. I, um, didn't get it done. But November's not over!

    I'm thankful for my family, who have never ever doubted my writing dream, at least not that I knew of. For my husband. For authors Donna Fleisher, Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, and so many others. For all my teachers--English or writing. For my Ponderer friends. My dear critique buddies over the years...Yeah. I need to go blog...

  8. Wonderful post Beth. I never could have imagined what the Ponderers would mean to me. You are an incredible addition to my life... oh, thou who questions whether she should write fiction.

    To my other Ponderers, as I pause and give thanks for my many blessings, YOU all are at the top of my list!

  9. Reba, I like to say Lisa is the heart of the Ponderers. You, my friend, are the laughter! I am thankful for your friendship--your sense of fun--and your wisdom.

  10. Jenness--let me know when that blog post is up! I want to read it! Just remember, you are an amazing writer--you made me jump right out of my seat with one of your scenes!

  11. Beth, not to embarrass you, but YOU are the reason I decided my "story" should be written. Thank you for your encouraging words, solid suggestions and listening ear and heart. I thank the Lord for you!

    I am also deeply thankful for my husband who has supported and encouraged me as I endeavor to write in a venue I never thought I could (fiction, that is). My children are also my cheerleaders.

    My friend, Jennifer, who is a critique reader for me is another person I thank God for. Her eye for story and ways to help me fine tune have been extremely helpful, as well as her enthusiastic, "You're doing it!" cheers.

    Thanks, Beth, for reminding me to think about those for whom I'm thankful on this writing adventure. :)

  12. Terrific post, Beth. I'm so glad you chose to write fiction...and you're a darn good writer at that.

    I'm thankful for my fiction writing professor who first believed in me, a mentor from my first writing group whom we affectionately called Dragon Lady--she taught me how to order my first alligator skin because you need a tough hide in this biz, Ruth Logan Herne--my first Christian mentor who told me it was okay to grieve for a day, but then pull up my big girl panties and keep writing, and then Susie Warren who taught me how to brainstorm and dig deeper.

    I'm also thankful for my Hubby and family for their continual support, my terrific Ponderer friends, and my wonderful agent Rachelle Gardner who took a chance on this unpublished writer.

  13. Jeanne,
    I still remember when you told me, "I think I want to write a book."
    I was thrilled--and it's been so fun to see you start along the writing road--and to have you meet my writing friends. It's a joy to share this experience with you. See you at Serranos soon!

  14. LJ, aka "Heart," I know many who are thankful for all you do!
    Can't wait to see the doors open wide for you and your stories!

  15. Who am I thankful for? Wow! Do we have enough space on the WWW for me to list them?!

    I'll try to be brief...I'm thankful to my friends Mary, Theresa, Mary B., and Sandy who read my first attempts at writing a novel and are...still my friends!

    I'm thankful for Cathy Marie Hake and Debby Guisti for praying me through my first ever conference!

    I'm thankful to critique partners Julane Hebert and Dianne Miley for their ever positive feedback to my work.

    I'm thankful to Susan May Warren for her willingness to teach, help, and mentor fellow writers. I have learned so much from her.

    My friends and cohorts in writing - the Ponderers. I wish I could list each one here and thank them for the role they have played in keeping my writing dream alive! God has surely brought us together!

    To my husband and best friend. He's the other half of me that keeps encouraging me to strive for what sometimes seems like the impossible.

    To my kids, Aubrey, Toby, Jesse, and Jake who support Mom stepping into a new adventure.

    Finally, to my God. He has given me the words, the desire, and the stories. Without him, I am nothing.

    Whew! I did it!

  16. Jennie, thanks for adding your list. Now take a deep breath! LOL!
    I've got to add Rachel Hauck's name to my list too. She's an inspiration--helped me as I revised my WIP and gave some suggestions that added depth. I love her insights about metaphor and symbolism.

  17. Wow, I love this post, Beth. One of my favorite pages to read when I first get a book is the acknowledgements. I've been told that's weird!

    I have so many people to be thankful for who have encouraged me in my writing journey...I don't even want to list for fear I'll miss someone. But I will say my parents and my grandparents are the four most encouraging, inspiring people in my writing life and life in general! If I could take all the amazing things about them, mix them together and morph them into one person, that's the person I'd want to be.

    I also have awesome siblings, awesome friends...and the Ponderers!!! Oh, how I love you ladies! And Susan May Warren - I feel so ridiculously blessed to have met and learned from her!

    And now I'm just gushing...and smiling...and feeling so thankful...

  18. Everyone's post has made me smile today. What a delight to hear of how others' have been encouraged in their writing journeys.
    We have much to be thankful for.

  19. Beth, great post! I'm thankful for so many who have and are encouraging me on my writing journey. At the top of the list are the ponderers who were at ACFW Indianapolis this year. I've gained so much by being able to call you all friend! I also thank Susie May Warren for facilitating that introduction and for all her wise teaching.
    My local writing groups - UFCW and AAW, as well as my amazing crit partner, Vonda Skelton.
    Love you all!

  20. Ah, Edie, aka "Edit," my Kindred Spirit writing friend . . . ACFW was all the better because I got to finally meet you face to face! I am most definitely thankful for you!

  21. Great post, Beth. I am thankful to be a part of this group of wonderful writers and amazing prayer warriors!

  22. Thanks for sharing, Pat. I am thankful for you--and for every one of the Ponderers.

  23. I am thankful to so many people who have encouraged me on my journey. My hubby who lets me pursue my dream, my Mom who helped to launch into writing and learn a lot, Amy Lindberg who encourages and gives great ideas, Lisa Jordan who has a link for every question I would ever have, and Susan May Warren who gave me craft tips to help my manuscript shine.

  24. Your words are so true. I suppose there are authors out there who write alone in caves and never need any help from their fellow cave-dwellers, but I'm not one of them.

    I can't even begin to say how you have helped me, brainstormed with me, and literally held me up when the road got bumpy. Thank you for deciding to walk this path. Here's to many more adventures...on paper. =)

  25. Great post, Beth! As I am relatively new to the Writing Road, I don't have a long list yet. Obviously I am thankful beyond words for my supportive husband and patient children. I am thankful everyday that God put me a Susie's Storycrafter's retreat and giving me my Ponderers. I cannot believe how blessed I am to have each of you in my life...thank you...y'all rock! Like Evangeline says, there are many writers who write alone and I am so glad I am not one of them.

  26. Melissa! I am with you in reading the acknowledgments page first. I thought I was the only one. =)

  27. So glad others have continued to share you they are thankful for!
    E, it is a privilege to be in a critique group with you. Maybe one day I'll write a chapter longer than yours--and master word pictures the way you have!
    And, Heidi--you are a delight! Love you, girl!