Over on the ACFW loop, we're talking about the gifts we've given and received this year. Because I haven't really thought about what I would blog about today, and it's an appropriate and interesting topic, I thought I would steal it.
So I've been thinking about what gifts pertaining to writing I've received over the past year. Here are a few that come to mind:
3. Fabulous critique partners. My critique group came together several months ago and is definitely a gift from God. Each member brings a unique perspective and a sharp eye to different aspects of a story, such as grammar, flow, research issues, etc. So here's a shout out to Val, Nicole, Patricia, and Heidi! Your encouragment and help has been awesome. You ladies rock!
2. A break from writing. This may seem strange, but the one week I spent with extended family at the lake with no Internet access was exactly what I needed. Yes, I snuck into town a couple of times to catch up on some work, but being able to write during those quiet mornings by the lake, without the lure of email and Facebook, was truly a gift. It was wonderful to declutter my brain and focus on what I truly love to do - write.
1. My dad. The biggest writing related gift I received this year came from my dad. Last year (2008), he told me that if I finaled in the Genesis contest in 2009, he would pay my way to the conference in Denver. I finaled, and he paid. It means so much to me NOT because of the large chunk of change that I wouldn't have been able to come up with otherwise, and NOT because I was dying to go, although both of those are good reasons! But the fact that my dad knew how much it would mean to me and wanted to bless me in this way is priceless. His thoughtfulness can't be measured and I can't thank him enough.
As for the gifts I've GIVEN...that's a little tougher. I could mention the books I've given away on my blog, or the Amazon gift card on Black Friday, but I don't consider those as gifts as much as rewards to you guys for taking the time to humor me by reading my blog.
It might be the amount of time I've invested in my critique partners manuscripts, but they do the same for me, so it's not really a gift, but an even exchange.
I did pay the entire hotel bill at the FaithWriters conference for myself and my friend, who might not have been able to attend, otherwise. I guess that would qualify.
I do hope this blog has been a gift to those who read it. I try to include helpful information that aspiring writers can use to improve their craft and hone their skills, and I love to offer book reviews to alert you to great reads. And there are the giveaways, of course.
I have received a couple of emails recently from readers who don't always comment on my posts but wanted to tell me how much my blog has encouraged and blessed them. So I suppose I would count that as the best gift I've given this year.
But, honestly, knowing I've done some small part in encouraging fellow writers is truly humbling.
EACH ONE OF YOU is a gift to me.
SO THANK YOU!
Now I'll pass on the question to you: What have been the best writing-related gifts you've given and received this year?