Today I’m feeling especially grateful for my D.E.A.R. friends. Why the fancy capitalization and punctuation? I’m glad you asked. J
I’ve had a lot of friends over the years, but there is nothing like a friend who writes. I’m fortunate enough to have one in the amazing Cynthia Justlin. Once upon a time, we embarked on what some people in writing circles call a critique partnership. The intent is to have a go-to person for all things related to your writing. Brainstorming. Character development. Editing. Career planning. Along the way, the really lucky ones find a person they can commiserate with. Writing is a gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing, tear-jerking business. It’s hard to talk to non-writing people about this. It just is.
Cynthia and I found all that in each other and more. She’s the other half of my writing brain and without her, I’d be…well, brainless. But that’s not even the greatest part. Cynthia is not only willing, but happy, to drop everything and read (D.E.A.R.). When I’ve got a deadline, she doesn’t even think about her own frantic, uphill race toward the best seller list. She reads. Whatever I ask her to. Then she proceeds to point out all the things I missed, all the things I could do better and she’s always right. I can’t put a price on that.
I have a few other friends who have dropped everything for me, too. Morgan Scott Matthews read an entire 100K manuscript in a weekend, then took the time to text me about how much she liked it, mere minutes before I was about to walk into a pitch appointment with an agent. That’s something I’ll never forget.
Julia Broadbrooks is another amazing person who took time to read for me when she was pulling twenty-hour days to get her own manuscript completed. No words could adequately express how so very generous she is.
Abbi Cantrell (no relation J) read for me and goes out of her way to check in frequently on my submission progress. Abbi has the singular distinction of being my first Call when I was a finalist in the Marlene contest in 2010.
How did I get so lucky? I have no idea. But you can bet I’ll do the same for them any day, any time. I wish I had some steps you can follow to get some D.E.A.R. friends of your own but I don’t. I reached out at a time when others were reaching back, I guess. I’m convinced you can’t do this thing called authorship without such people and any success I have in the future will be largely owed to them.
Thanks guys. You mean the world to me.