Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Winner from Last Week: I’m sending out a stack of wonderful summer reading to Jerusha Agen. Congratulations, Jerusha! (And it is just a coincidence that Jerusha is my newest client. I chose the winning number before I even began counting exactly how many there were.)
A writing friend of mine was rejoicing. She had achieved her greatest publishing goal to date and it was a mighty impressive one. She couldn’t wait to tell the good news to her best writing pal. When she finished, her friend sighed deeply and said, “When is it going to happen for me?”
My friend said she learned then and there that she could only share the best news with those who were also successful enough not to be wounded by her success. Isn’t that sad?
That’s what I want to talk about today, how we professionally cultivate the ability to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15) Let’s start with mourning. When our writing friends share a disappointment with us here are a few things that actively help:
Listen. Too often we brush away disappointments, thinking that if they just focus on the positive it will be easier. Sometimes we just need someone to actively listen to us.
Don’t respond with your success. If your friend just received a pass from an editor who’d shown interest, don’t follow up by telling them how you persevered to get your first contract. There’s time for how-to advice later.
Tell them why you love their writing. If you are an encourager and just can’t help yourself, talk about their writing and how it’s touched you. Publishing is a hard road and there are no guarantees but we can control what kind of writer we are.
Don’t blow off their disappointment. We’d love to tell them not to worry, that their reviewer is a cretin or the editor who passed on their manuscript doesn’t deserve to be making those decisions but the disappointment is real. Acknowledge that.
Pray for them. Crushed hopes can be devastating.
And how about when we need to rejoice?
Remember that someone else’s success does not diminish our chance of success. Rejoice with them. They’ll be the first ones to rejoice with you when your time comes.
Focus on them. This is their moment. Rejoice! Even if you’ve had a recent disappointment save it to share the next time.
Celebrate. Nothing is more fun than when our friends grab us for an impromptu celebration.
I know you can come up with many more strategies for us. Put them in the comments.