How supportive are you of the author in your life?
Being a writer and an author is one of the loneliest jobs there is I think. We spend hundreds and hundreds of hours sequestered in an office, at a kitchen table, in a coffee shop or a diner or in my case a garage working on our writing with just hope and faith that keeps us going. We work on a story for months and sometimes years not knowing what will happen once it’s done and people read it. Many of us work jobs we hate until that hopeful day when THIS works out and we can survive and have it be a financially stable career. The writing is often the only thing that makes us feel good about ourselves from a professional standpoint because we have found it’s the only thing that makes us feel good professionally.
A writer’s mind and heart are lonely places too because many don’t understand it or what goes into it. It’s an even lonelier place when the people we love and are closest to don’t really want to understand it or show an interest in it except passively. Most authors or aspiring ones do this because we love it. We love writing and creating and expressing ourselves in ways that sometimes we don’t normally know how to do in the real world or just can’t. For every made up bit of fiction on paper or the screen exists a little piece or pieces of the creator even if it’s only known to us. Pieces that we can’t talk about out loud, don’t know how to or don’t have anyone to listen. The hopes, dreams, and interests of our characters are often in small and subtle ways extensions of our own that we dare not talk about.
Are you dating a writer?
Are you married to an author; aspiring or otherwise?
Are you with someone who is working on a book whether it’s their first or tenth?
Now, I’ll ask some questions and please think about them and be honest with yourself. How often do you really sit and listen to them about their project, their work, and their writing? How often do you really listen to them talk about the business they are trying to build from scratch and succeed at? Or are you treating it like a hobby that you hope they will walk away from and stop annoying you with? Are you showing an active interest in what they are doing or just nodding, smiling and waiting for them to stop talking so you can go back to whatever you were doing?
Do you have a job; a career? Does the writer in your life ask you about your day and how work went and do they show an interest in hearing about your professional life whatever that may be? Are you doing the same? If no, why not?
Far too many people treat writing as a hobby. Far too many treat writing as not a real thing. In reality, though it’s no different than someone starting a coffee shop, nail salon or any other small business with a desire and dream to see it grow and succeed. IT IS NOT ANY DIFFERENT. So are you being dismissive and why?
It takes a lot for writers to have faith in themselves and their ability and it makes it even harder when those closest to us, who we love with every breath we take do not share that same faith or show it. Yes, bills have to be paid, the kids have to be fed, the house needs cleaning; the real world still exists and we know that. But if you know that writer in your life spent 3 hours last night writing a new chapter in their book what’s stopping you from asking about it? Asking how it went? Asking what it’s about? If your spouse had just opened a coffee shop or nail salon you would ask them if it was busy and if it was a good day so why not ask a writer.
In Stephen Kings book called On Writing, he didn’t hold back when talking about how supportive his wife was about his career early on and even after his amazing success. She worked with him to build not just his career but his life and family. They did it together and she played an active role, a huge role in his dream. She supported his goals. She usually was the first person to ever read any of his manuscripts even before his editor got them. In the book, he called her is “Ideal reader” and wrote for her to some degree. Her opinion about what worked and didn’t work mattered to him more than anyone else’s. Are you that to the writer in your life?
This isn’t just for creative writers and novelists either but also professional writers like journalists, speechwriters and anyone who writes anything professionally from home. How can you really appreciate the eventual success they will have when and if it comes when you have no real idea what that writer in your life went through to make it happen. Writing is a journey and you can only understand the journey if you try and be a part of it. So, be a part of it. The writer in your life needs it even if they won’t ask and will love you for it.