What You Need for a Successful Writing Career

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

I must be on the birthday circuit here at the Muffin because today is Mister Man’s birthday. (Last time we met, it was Oldest Junior Hall’s Birthday.

Anyway, I don’t celebrate Mister Man’s birthday in quite the same way because he’s—I hope!—enjoying himself at a party on heaven’s side. But I always give him a shout out or two or fifty for all that he did for me. 

Not that I didn’t express gratitude for all the times he filled my gas tank or filled out the taxes. But like most people who’ve lost a loved one, I didn’t realize how much he did until he…well, stopped doing it. But unlike an empty gas tank, the things I missed were of a far less tangible nature. 

Take my writing career. I honestly had no idea the necessary role he played in my success. And I’m not talking about the financial support he gave in early days or the many times he’d drop me off and pick me up at an event because I have a terrible sense of direction and/or hate driving at night. Those were incredibly helpful and generous acts of kindness but I think I might have eventually succeeded without the conferences or the cash flow. 

What I wouldn’t have succeeded without was his belief in me. 

I mean, sure, I believed in myself. I wouldn’t have picked up that pen and started jotting down ideas if I didn’t believe I had something to say. And boy, did I have A LOT to say! I thought Mister Man would love to read every little word. Turned out, he was not that interested. Turned out, in fact, that he really did not want to read my creative ramblings. At all. 

But you know what he did do? When those editors or contest judges or agents also did not want to read my creative ramblings AT ALL, when critiques would shred my pages as well as my self-esteem, when I was sure that the hours and hours and hours of work I’d done meant nothing, Mister Man believed in me. He’d listen to my ranting and raving; he’d wait patiently for the tears to dry. And then he’d say something—what, I have no idea, and really, that’s not the point. 

The point is, it wasn’t so much what he said as it was his steadfast, unwavering belief in me. That’s some powerful stuff, another person believing in you. It would bolster me to where I once again believed in myself. And I would pick up that pen and write. 

I don’t think I appreciated that super power until Mister Man was no longer around; I floundered for several years, wanting to just quit the whole writing business. But I’m blessed with friends that, like Mister Man, believe in me. They listen, they commiserate, they wait patiently, but mostly they stand by, believing in me. And now, I’m starting a new journey in my writing career. 

Yes, there’s much out there to help you be a writer. And of course, it starts with you believing you can do it. But don’t underestimate the power of that someone in your life who also believes in you, who’ll be there when your faith in yourself wavers. Because sometimes, it’s a who, not a what, that we often need to be successful. 

 (P.S. Happy Birthday, Mister Man—and thanks for everything!
 With love from Cathy C. Hall)


Renee Roberson said...

What a beautiful tribute to your husband! I too, am fortunate to have a supportive spouse. I'm sure he has no idea why I'm interested in thrillers and true crime, but he supports me nonetheless. I'm glad you decided to keep going and pursue this crazy dream called writing and that these cherished memories helped you move forward!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Aren't we lucky, Renee? Many (MANY) years ago when I watched award shows--like the Tonys--I'd wonder why winners would thank their spouse. I mean, it's not like THEY were working long hours, night after night...but eventually, I figured out what a huge role that partner played.

(See what I did there? Role? The Tonys? Hahahhaha!)

Barbara Barth said...

Beautiful post.

Charlotte Dixon said...

This is a beautiful tribute to your Mister Man. My spouse is gone, but his belief in me is right beside me in everything I do. You touched my heart and memory today--thank you.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Barbara, thank you. And Charlotte, we carry on, don't we? And thank you for reminding me that he's always with me, still believing in me.

Anonymous said...

Loved reading this. Mister man is watching over you Cathy. See you at the next Southern Breeze event.

Anonymous said...

This certainly speaks to me. We do take for granted the things they do for us. You are amazing. Happy birthday to Mr. Man. My huy will listen to me read a page or two, but read my work? Nope.

Anonymous said...

Don't you worry, he's up there rooting for you every day. My sister is the believer in my family. Though I've never doubted I could do it, she always believed in me. If any of my writing pieces was rejected she was the one who told me to try again. Even though we're separated by some distance for now (~40 miles) I know she would tell me to keep going.

Andrea said...

Oh darn, I didn't mean to publish as Anonymous. clicked the button too fast.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Happy Birthday to Mr. Man and what a tribute! My darling husband will read everything BUT please-oh-please don't expect conversation. Still I know that he believes in me and in my writing.

And, you know what? We believe in you. I know it isn't the same but we do the best we can.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Oh, thanks, y'all! It really is a super power, isn't it? And Sue, I count my WOW! family in the friends who believe in me (and give me some of the best advice ever--thank you!)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Cath! That pic of you and Mister Man is SO cute. :) What an amazing tribute. <3 My hubby is also supportive and thinks my writing is great. He won't read my work but will listen to me read my work to him. So I get to practice reading a rough draft and see how it sounds and get his reactions. He tells everyone that I'm a writer. And YES! I second what Sue said - we believe in you. :)

Genetta said...

Oh how this makes me smile! I never met Mister Man, but I always felt like I knew him. His love for you and belief in you crosses the divide that separates earthly life from eternity. I'm grateful for his belief in you because I love reading your writing. I look forward to seeing where your new journey takes you!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Ang, I have to give Mister Man credit for listening...not to the whole page or anything (Once I started reading the first chapter of a manuscript to him and after two paragraphs, he said, "How LONG is this?" It was three pages. Hahahaa!) but if he laughed, even after one paragraph, I knew I was on the right track.

Genetta, thank you for those kind words. I miss seeing YOU!

Martha Clay said...

I enjoyed your article very much. Made me stop & think about the ways he cared. Now that my David is gone, I realize how much he encouraged me in my music. He was my biggest fan & always wanted to hear me play the piano or organ. And he was to quick to point out that he heard a mistake or two! Thank you for sharing. I believe in you! How do I get to read your writings every day?

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top