As I hit the 5,000 word mark in my novel, I’m thinking about what got me to this point: Encouragement.

5,000 words are the most I have ever written for one project. I did minimal tertiary study, and since Bursary English exams all I’ve written is a couple of fun short stories, blog posts for clients, and a plethora of daily email.

I was recently struck by an idea. A concept I wanted to explore. So, I simply started writing as the ideas snowballed in my mind. Then I began to frame it into the bones of a story, and now I’m building the flesh, flab and fascia.

It’s a much bigger task than I thought it would be but way more fun than I ever imagined. Technically, does the act of writing make me a writer?

Early words of encouragement

When I turned 18 years old, I was able to vote in the elections for the first time that same year. I went to my old primary school to cast my vote, and my new entrants primary school teacher was at the ballot box. She had always remembered me by name, from back when I was 5 years old, to then when I was finishing my schooling.

The first thing she said to me: “Have you written a book yet?”

“Um, no…?” I wasn’t sure what she meant.

“You were always so good at writing. I loved your stories. I’m sure you’ll write a book one day”.

I’ve never forgotten that she said that. Somehow her words – the kind woman who remembers me always as that enthusiastic kid with the long curly red hair – those are the words that made me believe that I could write.

Scroll to the end to see some pictures of my writing book from when I was 5 years old. My writing style hasn’t changed a whole lot. And these were the safest stories that I could share… wow, kids love to overshare! ?

It might suck though

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying my book/novel/story is going to be any good. In fact, it might totally stink. But, so what. Like so much else in this impermanent, unpredictable world, I’m just enjoying the journey.

Once again I’ve immersed myself in something where I have NO idea where I’m going, NO idea how to get there, and probably NO business even going there. And, I’m loving it.

The encouragement I get from all those around me – past and present – gives me the propulsion to keep going. Whenever self-doubt creeps in, it’s the encouragement from those who care about me (or who are just curious about my excitement) that turbo charges me again.

This is a wee reminder that we don’t always know what impact our words have on others. So let’s choose the kind of words we want to become part of that person’s narrative. We never know how long it’ll linger.