Who is your Sherpa?

I recently opened a journal my friend Lisa gave me and read what she’d written on the inside cover…

It made me smile.

I remembered when she’d given it to me, a few years ago, after I’d already received a fair share of rejection letters and before I’d gotten any book contracts. 

And I thought about all the support I’ve gotten with my writing over the years—support like her note, the encouragement of friends and family, friendships with other writers, and small wins along the way like my manuscripts receiving awards.

They’ve made all the difference; it’s been an awesome journey.

The truth is, when I first started writing, I naively thought it would be easy–that all those best-sellers found their success overnight.

That was before I came to understand, more often than not, behind every success story is a journey of  patience and perseverance.

A journey where the support and encouragement of others really helped.

I love the card my mother-in-law gave me several years ago (that’s still on my desk). After the words You can do it! Hang in there! is a quote:

Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. Press on!                  

-Calvin Coolidge

Literary Agent Sandra Bishop at MacGregor Literary wrote a great post a while back titled Not Going it Alone that talked about how writing can sometimes be like climbing Mt. Everest. And, similar to a climber having a Sherpa to help him or her get to the top of the mountain, it’s a good idea for a writer to have a Sherpa too.

Someone to…

help guide you along the sometimes steep and narrow path,

cheer you on if you get discouraged or start to doubt yourself,

help you stay focused on your goals,

or push you harder when you think about giving up.

And I think that’s true for any situation in life, whether you’re…

pursuing writing or another goal,

battling health issues,

working through relationship or financial difficulties,

struggling as a parent…

the list could go on and on.

We all need someone to come alongside us from time to time and say,

“You can do it.”

What about you? What climb are you on? And who is your Sherpa?

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  1. I'm an aspiring writer, and it seems like a neverending path of rejection. It doesn't help that I can't seem to find my niche. I started writing a novel years ago but life got in the way of that. I wrote a children's book and met a year's worth of rejection before life got in the way of that. Now, after a mere 2 months of blogging, I'm trying to find my passion. Children's writing? Adult novel? Freelancing? I love writing, but I need to figure out where my skills lie. It's a frustrating roller coaster. Thanks for giving me hope.

  2. I love your thoughts! I really related to your journey, because I was an aspiring photographer for a long time, without enough training. I had a desire, an interest, and an eye for pictures, but no technical training. The training has come, and so have the opportunities to work with it, but I still have a long way to go. I am loving the journey.

  3. You are so right about a 'Sherpa'. I've never really had one…I think sometimes by my own upbringing and doing! Unfortunately I tend to be a little (LOT) protective of myself due to Many hurts and I just have trouble allowing others to get too close.Maybe that is why I have never accomplished anything…Going it alone is kind of …hmmm… discouraging.This is a great point to ponder…I wonder if someday I will ever write the three books in my heart?Thanks for this post!

  4. Without going in to too muchh detail here, I want to tell you that this post really spoke to me tonight. Thank you.

  5. wow great post. I tend to only read the blogs that I find interesting .Keep posting stuff like this i really like it. thx for posting

  6. After my senior year of h.s. I went on an eight day outdoor hike. We had a Sherpa as our guide. I learned so much from that trip.I think my Sherpa right now is my mother, some wonderful people I've encountered online and my critique partners.I've got a group of Sherpas. ;)~ Wendy

  7. My Sherpa is a compilation of many people. My writing friend who is in the boat with me; my readers who encourage by telling me that they actually understand what I'm writing…that's a good thing; the lone critic who really just wants to see me succeed, not hurt my feelings. I suck it up and write on! I'm sure there will be more added to that list.

  8. Genny, this is my all time favorite post from you! What a great inspiration about dreams and goals and sticking to them.My sherpa…a group of people I suppose. I like it that way.

  9. What wonderful and inspiring words! I ahve been trying to publish two children's books for quite some time and it has been no easy road. I really appreciate you sharing your story, your support for other struggling writers and your encouraging words.

  10. thought provoking–nothing worth having is easy to attain. I've been working at the same thing for 40 years–to be the best woman I can be, tackling whatever comes my way. I think my parents, my husband, my children and my faith in God are the sources I draw from when I need strengthening.congratulations on your success. Kaye-the road goes ever ever on

  11. Hey Genny…Thank you for your words of hope and encouragement to not quit!This very weekend, I am finishing the final galley proofs for my first book. It has been a 4-year journey – full of hills and dales!I, like you, thought you'd get a contract and a publisher, and sail off into the sunset. Ha ha ha!I appreciate your words as I face a weekend of edits and final changes.Blessings to you…Melanie

  12. Genny, I am so glad that I saw you linked up to PSF, for some reason your blog hadn't been feeding into my reader and I have missed you!God is so great in providing Sherpa's for us! My "sherpa" is an awesome woman of God who is also an aspiring writer.Blessings to you!

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