What kind of support can writers expect from the people around them?
Writing is a solo endeavor – it’s the writer and the page. The world around writers can be kind or unkind depending on who populates that world at any given time.
Tides of approval and disapproval wash over a writer’s work in progress as family and friends read bits and pieces. The poor writer seeks validation and at the same time fears rejection.
So what kind of support can writers expect from the people around them?
In my experience it’s about negotiation. Somebody has to bring home the paycheck so if one partner wants to write full-time then there has to be a compromise.
That’s pressure. Writing under pressure requires devotion – to the story from the writer and to the writer from a loved one.
Writing part-time, (which I don’t believe actually exists – when you aren’t writing a story, you’re thinking about it, writing notes on anything you can find, recording dialog on your phone; it all counts in my book) means taking time away from family especially if there are children involved it means less time with them.
Again, it’s a matter of negotiation. There is always pressure when a major family member has a goal outside of the family.
Writing a novel is an all-encompassing endeavor and to borrow an analogy from a writer friend: “When I wrote my novel it was like I took a balloon and blew it up in a dollhouse and crushed everything in it including the happy little family.”
Some genuinely wish the writer well and will read whatever the writer gives them and offer smiling critiques. “That’s the best thing I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to read the whole thing.” (Personal comment: Don’t share your work with constant ‘fans’. Writers need honest criticism in order to evolve. Nobody’s work is always ‘fantastic’ or ‘just needs some punctuation.”)
Some will pick apart everything and feel they could have written it better and leave the writer numb with despair. (Personal comment: say thank you and write on.)
These friends may want to write but don’t have your courage. ONLY take criticism from a well-read critic who, as a reader, takes issue with your plot or characters or a fellow writer, someone you respect. Which brings me to the last group writers go to for support.
3. Writer’s Groups
Here are the critics and they can be helpful as long as the criticism is aimed at the work and whether or not it delivers on what the writer wants.
The group is there to support the writer’s work, not comment on the content, i.e. choice of language, political or religious opinions, or any peculiar slant no matter how morbid, iniquitous or degenerate sounding. (I run a writers group with a broad spectrum of writers and there is no filter on the writing. And yes, there have been times members have walked out because the content of some fictional pieces was too much for them.)
Writer’s Groups can offer the best kind of support and it can be invaluable. Find one that suits you and has writers who will not only be honest about your writing but honest about their own.
One caveat – don’t let any criticism stall your forward progress unless it’s so major, as in your plot stops working or is completely implausible, or your main character is just too unrealistic.
Make a note in the margin about description, dialogue or any other comment you want to include in the re-write of your FIRST DRAFT.
Because the support you’re looking for is, in the end, to get to THE END.
My gift to you is a PDF sign to hang on your door. (Link below)
IF YOU LOVE ME
LEAVE ME ALONE
AND LET ME WRITE
I’ve spent the last six years supporting writers in the journey to finish the first draft. No matter what, writers, you have to be supportive of yourself and take advantage of all the tools you can to get to THE END. Remember, your family, friends and fellow writers know you have it in you. Now it’s up to you.
Grab your free PDF here and keep writing!
My contribution to getting the job done:
60 Scenes Writing Method
“If you can write 60 scenes you can write a novel.”