I could name so many people ...
Family, friends, mentors. My third grade teacher who encouraged us to write weekly stories. My mom and my great aunt who oohed and ahhed even as they were subjected to countless readings and re-readings of unintelligible short stories and the 20-page masterpiece "book" that had poured from my nine-year old mind. My nanny with whom I wrote plays every year. My high school English teacher. Everyone who, when I said, "Oh yeah, I'm writing a YA dystopian fantasy novel," replied "Whoa! Cool! Can I read it?" rather than "huh?? why?"
Betas. Since I started writing more seriously last year, I've had a lot of different help. My family and friends still remain a huge encouragement, but I also have other beta readers, all found on Absolute Write, that have been flat-out lifesavers. Betas: I know I've said it before, but as I'm sitting here this week, going through my re-writes, ahh, I love you guys! This week you're making it hard on me, but my novel will be so much better for it!
But I think who wins the prize would have to be my husband. Why? Here is a typical conversation surrounding my book writing saga:
Me: "But don't you think I should be doing something more useful with my time?"
Him: "Like what? You love doing this!"
Me: "Yeah, but I feel guilty ... don't you think I should be like, spending more time on my PhD?"
Him: "Why should you feel guilty? You'll finish your PhD. You have a great story. You're going to publish it. It's going to get published. You love writing it. You shouldn't feel guilty about doing something you love!"
Every time I start to feel insecure about writing, he's always there for me. Even though we have to have this exact same conversation every three days, he's just as encouraging every time.