What Do Writers Need?

List of things a writer needs, including writing friends.

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?

11 thoughts on “What Do Writers Need?

  1. Ruth Ann Holloway-Adams

    Writers really do need other writers, and for all the reasons you described, Janet! Your comment about crying over a killed off character makes me smile! I get that completely! My inspiration certainly comes from TWG, In-Scribe, our local group, and awesome writer friend, like you!

    1. Janet Sketchley

      I’ve heard of writers absolutely sobbing over characters that have to die. We sure need each other for encouragement — and for motivation. It makes a huge difference.

  2. Mary Waind

    Each other for sure! The connections are precious, and you are a first class encourager Janet. Looking forward to celebrating your upcoming book launch.

  3. glynism

    Well done, Janet. Such great and true thoughts on the psyche of a writer. We sure do need each other. Words of affirmation surely spur us on, but if we are serious about our craft, so do helpful critiques. I love all my writing group involvements and, like you, my inspiration and motivation has come from both Inscribe and TWG; then my local writer’s group – Writers Unite, is an amazing place to bare my writing heart and soul on a monthly basis and a place where I realize that other writers ‘understand.’
    Nice post and encouraging, as usual! Bless you…

    1. Janet Sketchley

      Thanks, Glynis. I know I’d sure rather have a kind writer friend point out a flaw in my writing than either keep getting rejected or get it published and then have a hostile critic highlight the problem.

  4. Bobbi

    Like you, Janet, I really like putting faces to names with the FB group. I wrote in isolation for decades, and discouragement was the norm. But now that I’ve found TWG and Inscribe, even though I’m sitting in my same chair, with my same laptop, in my same solitary space, I don’t feel alone. Community is great, and Christian community is unbelievable!

  5. Janis Cox

    Yes – that is exactly what we need – we need to know we are together in this. And the ” more we get together the happier we’ll be” – I seem to be on a Sesame St. Theme tonight.
    praying that we can be strong – and hold together – pray for each other and celebrate our little successes.
    Janis http://www.janiscox.com


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