Who’s Your Gatekeeper?

Everyone needs a gatekeeper.   (And no one wants one, of course. )

Gatekeepers look like villains in any good hero’s journey stories, but what they teach the hero makes the final triumph possible.   Even Luke didn’t love Yoda on first sight.

And yet–it’s the gatekeepers in our lives we remember and cherish.   I sent a copy of my first book of poems to the English teacher who drove me mad with picky language details in high school.  Neale Copple and Bill Hall set high standards for journalism students at the University of Nebraska–and taught us how to meet those standards; they were my yodas.   So were Geneva Klopping, high school math teacher in Red Oak, Iowa, and a geography professor at Augustana College’s regional studies programs.

Other gatekeepers–not such fond memories.   But they put me through training I didn’t know I needed and made the best parts of my life possible.

As writers, we need gatekeepers, too.   In the old publishing world, publishers provided the editors, publicists, and coddling we needed.   In today’s world, we have to find our own gatekeepers.   We need editors or critique groups to lead us through the hard revision work editors used to do for authors–at least for the few who actually got published in those days.   We need publicists or coaches to help develop our individualized strategic business plans and find ways to implement them without a huge budget.   We need coddling–and challenging–from people who care about our vision, whether they’re life coaches or mentors or fellow writers.

If you’re still looking for great gatekeepers, please join me on August 5 for a webinar and Q and A session on gatekeepers.  It’s free and the full details are in my events calendar on this website.

Who are the great gatekeepers in your own life–past or present–and who did they challenge you to become?