When I was a senior in high school, I lived with the family I’d babysat for since my freshman year. The father was an English teacher at a nearby middle school, the mother a chemical engineer. 

Three weeks before my high school graduation, I decided to enter my school’s creative writing contest. The night before the contest’s deadline, the father helped me revise my piece until almost one in the morning.

Someone else won the contest, but I was stunned by his belief in my potential. 

Eight years later, I finally won my first creative writing contest. I was twenty-six and had just graduated with my bachelor’s degree. Certain the announcement was a fake, I confronted my creative writing professor. 

“Of course you won. It was a great piece.” He shook his head like my concerns were ridiculous. Even though I was full of doubts, he saw me as a writer. 

In 2014, I signed up for a memoir writing class during the peak of my battle with Lyme disease. I was forty and most days, my brain felt like scrambled eggs. My ideas were mushy and fragmented. I struggled to retrieve words and quickly lost my train of thought. My spelling was atrocious, and my grammar sucked. My instructor saw past those deficits and praised the beauty of my scene work. 

Each of these mentors taught me valuable lessons about the craft of writing. But their real gift was helping me believe in myself.  

If you’re reading this email, it’s likely someone has also given you this gift. 

That leads me to my final 2020 #Giveaway4Good Challenge. 

Between now and 7:00 PM EST on December 28, 2020, I’d like you to thank someone who’s impacted your writing career. 

For saying thank you, you’ll be entered into this week’s drawing for a prize pack from the organizations you supported during week three.

This prize pack includes: 

 
If one of these organizations has supported your writing journey, the greatest form of gratitude you can express is a donation so they can continue to serve writers. 

To learn more about these amazing organizations or how you can donate to them, click here

 

To enter this week’s drawing, reply to this email. Include the name of the person or organization you are thanking and one sentence about how they’ve impacted your writing journey. 

 

I’ll give you one ticket for each person you thank. 

You’ll receive two tickets for a financial donation to any literary organization. 

You’ll receive four tickets for thanking James River WritersHippocampus Literary MagazineBrevity, or Creative Nonfiction with a gift of ten-dollars or more. 

 

On top of this week’s prize pack, you’ll also be entered in my grand-prize drawing for a one-hour coaching session with me (includes a 10-page manuscript review), PLUS a spot in Jane Friedman’s self-study course How to Write a Book Proposal

So, who are you going to thank? 

Your message might be the greatest gift this person receives this year. 

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