Monday, May 11, 2009

May Writing Challenge: An Influential Woman (or a few)

By Nichole Giles

My friend Christine is brilliant. Every month she issues killer writing challenges that not only help hone our skills as writers, but make us reach down inside ourselves to scrape the feelings embedded in our hearts.

This month, the challenge is especially hard because I’m supposed to write about a woman who has affected my life for the better—or who has greatly influenced me—but who is not related to me by adoption or blood. Meaning I am not allowed to write about my mother, stepmother, grandmothers, sisters, daughters or…any of the many women who are most prominent in my life.

I considered not taking the challenge because, if I can’t write about those people who will I write about? But then I got thinking. (That’ll do it every time!) There are so many women in my life, I could write hundreds of thousands of words and still not cover all of them. The trouble choosing which one to write about.

Last week, I posted an article about friendship, and mentioned a group of women friends who keep me going through life—and have done so for thirteen years or more. These women are an important part of my life, and I love them as sisters. I look forward to our monthly nights out the way I look forward to holidays. And our weekends away…well, something not to be missed!

Each of these women has a different personality, a different life situation, and a different background. Our differences, as much as our similarities, keep us close.

For instance, I know that Jennifer will offer me a remedy when I’m sick, worry about me when I’m hurt, or pick up my kids in an emergency. She’s also an expert listener. Lori, on the other hand, will drop whatever she’s doing to go to a movie with me, will offer sympathy when life throws me a curveball, and offer her wisdom and experience. Tiffany will listen, offer insightful advice, has a mountain of patience, and is quick to read whatever I send her (which is important to an aspiring author). Raylene is the idea woman who always has a recipe, a brilliant party idea, and keeps us laughing no matter what’s going on in my life or hers. Mitzi is a warm shoulder, and a woman who has shown me that it is possible to start over again when things are worse than you ever thought life could be.

But if you’re a regular reader, you know all of that from my recent blog, Buckets of Friends.

So I’ve decided today to blog about some other women in my life—ones I have contact with every day and who have cheered me when I’m down, lifted me to greater heights, and encouraged me in my writing. These women have been there to point out my minor type-o’s, my major plot problems, misspellings, repetition, formatting issues, and about every other problem a writer can face. Not to mention rejections.

They’ve worried about me when I’m off-line for a long period of time, they know the names of my children, my husband, my dogs—they know the names of all my main characters, where I’ve been published, and what I’m marketing now. They’ve read all my work—even short articles and blogs—and always offer assistance whenever I need it.

It’s possible that without these women I might someday be a good writer—someday far in the future. But because of them, and with their help, I’ve progressed exponentially. And yes, I have been published—thanks to their unfailing help.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Cindy Beck, Connie Hall, Rachelle Christensen, Tristi Pinkston, Heather Justesen, Kim Thompson, Christine Bryant, Danyelle Ferguson, Ali Cross, and Karen Hoover.

There are more, many more, but these are the women I depend on regularly. Who I have contact daily or weekly, and I’d like to honor them.

Thanks, ladies! You’re the best.

Check out this music video—this one’s for all of you.


Christine Bryant said...


I'm honored to be counted among such a wonderful group of ladies. I've also found great friendship with them and understand completely what you're talking about. I would have given up on my writing a long time ago if it weren't for you and those other choice women (and a couple men) in our writer's group. Great Post!!!!


Cindy Beck said...

Nichole: That was so nice of you. We love you, too! Where would we be without YOU?

(Cute video, by the way. :)

The Chick lit Review Gossip Blog said...

It's wonderful that you have such a great group of friends (and you have such a touching way of describing them). All the best!