Writers As Champions

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over a dozen novels. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her husband, an Army veteran, have an adventurous life in Northern Virginia with their children and retired military working dog, VVolt N629. Ronie’s degree in Psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. She can be found at:
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I’ve been mulling the concept of champions lately as I prepare for my keynotes at Oregon Christian Writers’ Fall Conference, and it brings me back to a striking comparison between the writing life and training for tae kwon do that my family and I have been immersed in for the last four years. Soon, our family will test for our second degree black
belts. 

I confess a painful truth—I’m not getting any younger. And
training is tough. I’ve injured myself a lot in the last six months (my back,
bruised the bone of my elbow, jammed my toe breaking boards). But we love it. And we know
that the hard work will pay off—we’ll be stronger and in better shape.

Kendig’s 1st Degree Black Belt Ceremony

Oddly (or
may not), the same is true of writing. Our “writing” training program—learning
the craft of writing—can be grueling. There is a lot to learn and many opportunities
to make mistakes. It’s easy to become discouraged or daunted—because sometimes,
when we learn one thing, we realize just how much we don’t know. At times, writing
may even leave us exhausted and depleted,
physically and emotionally.

My tae kwon do
instructors are world champions. The best. They are sixth and seventh-degree black belts, which amounts to decades of experience. Yet, they are the most humble people I’ve met. I’m struck by how hard this career is, how
isolating it can be…yet, how “easy” it is to be a champion to someone. Each
night in TKD, we get on the mat, leaving behind our insecurities, the weight of
a long day, and the all-too-real life that plagues us. We’re geared up and
ready to spar, train, and do our forms. These students and our instructors have
become our family. We cheer each other on and challenge each other.

And again,
the same is true of the writing community. We have champions around us who are actively
championing other writers. And I think that’s what we should all be doing.
After all, we are surrounded by like-minded individuals, writing and working
toward similar goals—publication, representation.

Over the
last 10 years, as I’ve honed my writing craft and fought to develop my career,
I have battled discouragement. It’s always there, bouncing on its toes as I
edge closer to the “ring” of life. Daring me. Taunting me. Ridiculing me.
Discouraging me. It’s a ready foe, anxious to nail a sidekick into our guts and
bring us to our knees.

Let’s face
it, writing isn’t easy. Often, it’s just plain hard. It demands a lot of us as
artists. St. Francis of Assisi said, “He who works with
his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and head is a craftsman. He
who works with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist.”

Being an artist requires us to create, to draw from a
deep well of emotional content, and pour onto the page. Sometimes, when we do,
it depletes our emotional and mental reserves. We have to refuel. But how?
Where?

It’s important to surround yourself with supportive writing friends who
will lift you up during the rough patches instead of belittling or comparing as
often happens in our competitive industry. We should
be champions for each other. Come alongside someone who is struggling and be
their champion.

 We must get on the mat, be willing to train with
each other, and cheer one another on. See someone flagging in their courage? Be
encouragement to them. See a friend struggling through life? Find a way to
champion their cause. Is someone working hard yet battling discouragement? Be
their champion.

* * * * * 
The Warrior’s Seal (Tox Files #0.5) is a FREE novella prequel! 

A Special Forces team is thrust into a war with the past to save the president after an artifact unleashes a deadly toxin. 

Special Forces operative Cole “Tox” Russell and his team are tasked in a search-and-rescue–the U.S. president has been kidnapped during a goodwill tour. The mission nosedives when an ancient biblical artifact and a deadly toxin wipe out villages. Tox must stop the terrorists and the toxin to save the president.