Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Power Of Inclusion...

As the newest crew member on The Revenge I wanted to use my last blog post to not only thank the rest of the crew for the wonderful opportunity, but also for the personal support that I know will continue on beyond the life of this blog.
Of all the things being part of this crew has given me, the lesson that will resonate forever with me is the power of inclusion. Being a newbie writer, struggling to find my way, to feel as if I had the right to call myself a writer, to find some sense of foothold along the treacherous path writers endure, something magical happened when I was officially asked to become a blogger with The Revenge.
Now I might not have blogged that often, nor can I claim to have given any immensely compelling insight into the writing process, but my inclusion as a member of this crew might have helped me more than my posts helped anyone else.
Advice. Support. Straight talk. Cheerleading. Reminders about big girl panties. Validation.
This crew has provided me with these and so much more and it all came down to the power of inclusion. They included me. By asking me to join their group it went beyond just writing a few blogs.
It lit a fire in me. I went from having spent two years trying to write my first book, to finishing the first, entering my first writing contest, outlining two more books while starting book two.  Inclusion can do that.
All it took was someone asking me to be a part of something bigger than the blank page in front of me.
This crew has taken me beyond what I could have done on my own simply by making me feel apart of something bigger that gave some legitimacy to the time I spent writing.
So with my last post I want to leave this crew and our readers with this one point - include someone.
Whether it's just including that writer you see sitting alone at a conference or asking a newbie like myself to join a blog or critique group, extending an invitation to them will mean so much more than you can image.
My writing journey really started when I signed up for the amazing Judi McCoy's writer's boot camp at the RT Booklovers Convention. As you all know, Judi was an amazing woman who lived to include, to build-up, and to empower young writers. At the same time I met Judi I met an equally amazing, and honestly, an even more empowering woman for me - Maureen, our own lovely 2nd Chance. Both took it upon themselves to connect with me and I will be forever grateful and in awe of their selfless acts to help new writers.
What began with these two woman was lifted into something affirming and life-changing when Terri extended the invitation to become a writer here on The Revenge. It was the power of inclusion. Thank you so much for including me, for giving me a sense that I could conquer the blank page. Your invitation took me out of solidarity and allowed me to identify as finally, a "writer." 
My dear crew, I'd love to hear your stories of being included - whether with your writing or personal life. Was there a special moment that has stuck with you as being a deal-changer or had long-lasting personal meaning? How did you come to join The Revenge?


Marnee Bailey said...

Awh, this was a really sweet post, Scape. :)

I think I felt the same when Hellie invited me aboard. I remember thinking, "They think I'm a real writer! How cool is that?!"

I still feel like that some days. LOL!!

I think the changing point for my writing came on the day I was walking my colicky infant around my house. I'd watched three or four episodes of Charmed that morning, still walking him around as he hollered, and I remember thinking that I might go insane if I had to watch any more television. I hadn't showered--please, he wasn't about to give me five minutes in the shower right then--so I picked up a book and tried to read. When I realized I couldn't read with one hand (this was pre-Kindle days for me). I was frazzled, desperate, ready to lose my mind. So, that's when I decided to write. If I couldn't read while I swayed my screaming kidlet, than I could type with one hand.

So I did.

I'd always told myself that I would write when I was older, when I knew more, when I had more time. With that little person demanding so much, I realized I wasn't going to ever have more time. And he certainly made me very aware that I knew less than I'd even though I knew. It was very much a "eh, what the hell, let's give this a try" kind of moment. From there, writing became a sickness. I haven't stopped since.

Terri Osburn said...

What a lovely post. You were a member of this crew long before the formal invitation was sent. We just made it official. :)

I remember the July night in 2006 when I was working my second job, completely exhausted and lost, and I wandered onto the Eloisa James Bulletin Board. I wasn't even sure what a bulletin board was, but I found all these women waxing poetic about Eloisa's novels and it was as if I'd found my people.

I somehow got up the nerve to comment, and was immediately engulfed in a giant virtual hug of welcome. That's when I became a Bon Bon, met people who would change and enrich my life, like Hellie, Janga, PJ, Santa, and so many more, and the rest is history. :)

Though to be fair, it was Hellie who pushed me the most to write. To believe I was a writer. She suggested we start our own blog and The Revenge was born. I can't imagine and don't want to think about how empty my life would be if I hadn't made that fateful click seven years ago.

MsHellion said...

Not to sound like a complete narcissist, but I will--when I started my blog, "inclusive" rather than exclusive is the emphasis I wanted us to take. And I wanted to bring people who were varied in genres and stages of writing, people who were also inclusive--I made us pirates because I think of pirates as sorts of underdogs that thrive despite it all--and all without having to follow the rules.

I've been part of writing groups over the years--and too much of the time is spent making outsiders feel they have to be a certain way to be a real writer. You NEED to write; that's about the only real requirement I've ever seen and it was never the requirement group leaders seemed to think was as important. *LOL*

Besides, inclusive-ness allows for more cheerleading...and I always wanted to be a cheerleader when I was young. I still can't do a cartwheel--getting my ass over my head doesn't happen unless it's a disaster. Positive feedback always made happier workers than negative ones.

So that's what I'll miss about this blog. I know we will go off and pass our inclusive-ness along to other writers and keep going. We'll have a RWR in spirit, so that's the positive. Maybe we can reach more people that way.

MsHellion said...

Clearly it's OUR blog NOW, but at the time, it was MY blog...

See, complete narcissist.

Terri Osburn said...

Eh. You'll always be the Captain.

Marnee Bailey said...

Eh. You'll always be the Captain.

It's true. :) You were the driving force. I would have never thought of myself as a pirate without you.

Maureen said...

Writing wise, pivot point...we all know mine. But joining the Revenge? Ah, well,I saw that postcard at the Nationals in
San Francisco and it took me months to visit...a question about what music you write to. I think it was one of Sin's. I posted... I think I agonized more about what to call myself than anything else... I kept commenting, I invented myself as a bartender and then...that magical moment when I was asked to blog...and I was included.

Fran. you'll always be Cap'n Hellion. Terri will always be the Bosun, We'll always be pirates. The most wonderful part about the inclusions was that we all wrote different things. Most writing blogs I've seen are all about "we write historical!" or "we write paranormal!" or "we write romantic suspense!"

Well, here on the Revenge we all just write. Period.

Sabrina, I've adored you since that day in Orlando when you showed up with your color-coded binder. And when Jane and I had to bail and leave our ordered but not delivered lunches at the cabana and you got them for us... You're a bright light...and I hope when Nationals returns to Orlando that we will see you again. You towel thief!

In the meantime, there is goggle chat and all else that is electronic!

MsHellion said...

I FORGOT. I do have a camera on my new laptop; I could google chat and the like now.

Maureen said...

Oh boy! This is gonna fun!

MsHellion said...

Probably not as fun as you think. My idea of clothing is no bra and a tank top with shorts--and that's DRESSED--if I'm around my house.

Terri Osburn said...

I think you're being a little misleading there. Hellie prefers to be in the all together if she's in her house. Which means we're going to need to be very specific on where the cameras point!

MsHellion said...

Well, I was assuming we were talking daylight hours. I usually put on a tank then...but yeah, if I'm still in bed at the time this goes on, we have a problem.

Terri Osburn said...

We usually talk in the evenings. Like 7 your time.

Janga said...

This is a sweet post, Sabrina. Your posts here and on FB and your tweets nearly always leave me cheerier that I was before I read them.

Squawk Radio was the first online site where I felt like part of the community. That led me to the Eloisa James bb in its first incarnation when it was part of her web site. I loved both of those communities, but it wasn't until EJ set up the larger bb and it started growing that I felt as if I'd found my romance reading/romance writing tribe. Lots of overlapping between those groups and the other online communities where I feel included. I've loved joining the pirates to read, to learn, to laugh, and to share my two cents. I left a comment on Sin's last post, but it was at nearly 2:00 a.n. the next day. I don't think anyone saw it, and it seems connected to Sabrina's question about inclusiveness. So I'm reposting it.

I'm late because I had a wild day--as my posting time should confirm. But I will miss most the mix of personalities--different types of people with different writing goals and different life experience all woven together in a community where everyone is accepted, no one is judged, and a sense of humor is the only price of admission. The combination is rarer than you realize. I'm grateful I was privileged to visit regularly.
September 19, 2013 at 1:48 AM

Terri Osburn said...

We saw it, Janga! Hellie and I emailed about it for most of the next day. Basically about how awesome the comment is and how much we love how you describe the blog.

Guess we could have commented back to let you know that!

Maureen said...

Can I wear a funny hat when we google chat? Or use a puppet?

Janga, gonna miss your words of wisdom!

Terri Osburn said...

We must all use puppets! That would be so hysterical. A bunch of muppets with our voices. We have to do this now.

Maureen said...

So many puppets to choose from...

MsHellion said...

Yeah, Janga, if I hadn't been crying so much at how sweet the sentiment was, I would have did make me real teary eyed.

I said, "Too bad we couldn't use that line as our branding tag line"--and Terri reminded that our too drunk to care line was basically the same thing. (Clearly yours was still the nicer sounding one. *LOL*)

MsHellion said...

I can make a puppet! I did that one time when I was helping with Vacation Bible School--and we made puppets for the class...and I made Abraham, because I'm not very original and we were in BIBLE school...but everyone else made punk rockers and contemporary puppets...and then we did "Father Abraham" song at the "recital"--hilarious. Oh, I'm a darling with hand puppets. *LOL*

Now I want to do it.

Damn, the pilates class high is still nuts. I feel like I have ADHD. I mean, I usually do, but I'm too tired to do anything about it.

Sabrina Shields said...

And of course on my last post it was impossible for me to stop by and comment.

So sorry my fellow pirates! I love hearing about your moments when you felt included since you have all made me feel incredibly special.