To be a successful author (define that how you will) a writer needs talent, experience, perseverance, opportunity, readers, etc.
Writers also need friends.
We may do the actual writing alone, even if we do it best amid the background chatter of the local coffee hangout, but it’s the writing community that lets us thrive.
Another writer will get it if you scribble notes in the emergency room because “I might need this for a story.” Or if you’re crying because you just had to kill someone in your fiction. Or if your editor’s comments are right, but “it’s too hard and I’ll never be able to do all this!”
Other writers understand the struggles. They understand the “unusual” mindset, too, because they share it.
Writing groups, workshops and conferences let us cultivate positive acquaintances, and some of those turn into deep friendships. Even at the acquaintance level, we can learn from one another, encourage, keep one another accountable, and build one another up.
We can be that “second pair of eyes” that sees what’s missing, confusing, or out of perspective in an article or story. Or we can spot the typo or punctuation error before it reaches an acquisitions editor.
We can cheer for one another. I love it when someone I know gets published or wins an award. If their work was chosen over mine, the rejection still hurts, but it doesn’t cut as deeply. There’s a positive aspect to focus on instead of dwelling on the negative.
After all, a friend’s good news is a lot better than no news or bad news, and sometimes if I had to wait for my own reason to celebrate it would be a long time coming. Now that a celebration’s on the calendar for me this November with the release of my novel, Heaven’s Prey, I’m glad to have writer friends who’ll share it with me and help spread the word.
Writers can encourage one another. We can share market opportunities, recommend helpful resources, warn others about scams. We can talk up one another’s blogs, articles, poetry or books. It’s a lot easier for me to tell you how great my friend’s writing is than to promote my own.
I don’t know if I’d still be writing without a network of writer friends. They’re mostly online, but I’m glad to have a few face-to-face writing friends too. In the early days, my local critique group not only encouraged my tentative start, they were my unofficial accountability group. I hated admitting I hadn’t written anything in the past month.
Then I found InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and connected online with other writers who shared my faith. Looking back, that was the moment “the lights went on, colour flooded black-and-white, and I was connected.”
The place I’m most active these days is The Word Guild, and I’m enjoying our new Facebook group that lets us put faces to names. Wherever we find them, writers need writing friends.
Writers: where do you most like hanging out to connect with your writing friends?
Non-writers: do you have friends who write? How do you best support them?