The Importance of Encouragement by Stephanie Nickel

I admire those who say, “I couldn’t not write.” I’ve often wondered if I was one of them. After a little analysis, I came to some conclusions. I could lay aside my aspirations of becoming a published author (although my co-author wouldn’t take kindly to that), and I could forego becoming widely recognized (again, refer to my co-author’s feelings). However, sharing what’s important to me in written form is just part of who I am.

I remember writing several poems by candlelight when I was a child. Over the years, I’ve written short stories, magazine and newspaper articles, and a full-length fiction manuscript, not to mention the countless notes and letters to friends and family. And then there are my nine blogs. From book reviews to fitness tips. From childbirth information to housekeeping humour. Such is the span of my interests.

Although some would say I’m scattered, I prefer to refer to myself as “eclectically-interested.” I’ve received advice such as “We should do one or two things in life and set aside the rest.” While I have to be careful not to spread myself too thin – or take on every exciting opportunity that comes my way – I must remain true to who I am. I will forever be going in a dozen directions at once.

I’m well aware of the importance of “branding” one’s self. When push comes to shove, my brand would be encouragement. I felt, in a special way, 2011 was to be the Year of Encouragement. Every time someone says, “You’re such an encouragement,” I do a little happy dance. (As a writer, I’d encourage you not to use a word – say encouragement, for example – several times in the same paragraph. Just a free tip.)

When one of my favourite authors asked if she could use my book review in its entirety as the foreword for her novel, I was thrilled. Seeing my name on the back of a book I’ve endorsed makes me smile. And, yes, I’m sure when I see my name on the front of a book, I’ll be very happy, but that is not the be all and end all for me.

When Kait called for sponsors for Round 4, I saw it as an opportunity to encourage my fellow ROWers. So, whether you write novels or poems, blog posts or journal entries, set some flexible, achievable goals, and start writing.

For those of you who are new to A Round of Words, I’d like to share what most surprised me about this group. It truly is a community of writers. I was thrilled when fellow ROWers stopped by my blog to cheer me on. I was also grateful to the group member who included encouraging others on her list of goals. It motivated me to do the same. Hopefully, you will find yourself encouraged. And perhaps, you’ll want to do the same for others.


Stephanie Nickel



  1. What a fantastic message in this post, Stephanie. I love the “eclectically-interested.” terminology. I find you are passionate about many things… unique and not conventionally brand-able and niche-able.

    Thank you for all your encouragement!

  2. Great post. We all need encouragement. It’s those pats on the back (virtually and IRL) that makes it a bit easier, helps me keep going. Everyone in ROW80 has been wonderfully encouraging. A true community! I like your description “eclectically-interested”

  3. Encouragement is a huge factor in my writing. Great post. I move a lot, so an in-person writing group has never worked out for me. I’m finding the online writing community, especially ROW80, fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

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