This month's question got me thinking: Has there been any one person who urged me to write? Anyone who tried to dissuade me? Most writers I know can come up with a name in an instant, either pro or con.
My case is different. No one could dissuade me because I kept my writing on the down low. On the other hand, keeping my writing dreams quiet meant that none of my family or friends could cheer for me, either. Only my husband knew that I wanted to try to write and sell a book, and he was extremely supportive.
That's not to say that support isn't important. Early on, I discovered the Romance Writers of America and joined the organization so that I could take their workshops and improve my craft. Along the way--without even trying--I made a number of friends, all of whom were pursuing the same dream. It made a world of difference in my career. I had whatever constructive criticism I wanted as I tried to improve, but no one to tell me, "You shouldn't." And the friends I've made through our shared goals are some of my closest.
In retrospect, finding others who shared my goal was the smartest thing I could do. Now, whenever I have a new goal, I find someone like-minded, and we work toward our goals together. It's a strategy I believe can be applied to non-writing areas of life, too!