Do your face-to-face friends know you’re a writer? Do they know about your dream of publication?
I’ve read some blog posts about the lonely life of a writer and others about those who are reluctant to reveal the fact that they’re writers.
I think one can be the result of the other, but we can choose not to remain lonely. I did.
Writing is, by nature, a solitary endeavor.
We sit by ourselves with our fingers flying over our keyboards. While those like me, who tend to be more introverted, might not feel isolated, I understand that spending hours on end with no human contact can be difficult for others.
Cyber colleagues are wonderful. I have many treasured online writing buddies, but there’s nothing like a F2F friend. (I just learned that’s texting talk for face-to-face. :-))
Some of us are blessed to have local writer friends. I have several. Like me, though, they’re busy and don’t always have time to “do lunch.”
There’s a wealth of support to be found from our real life, non-writer friends.
When I chose to pursue my dream of being a writer five years ago, I made a decision. Having been an assistant editor at a small publishing house back in the days when wrinkles were on my clothes and not my face, I knew I had a rough road ahead. The odds of suffering rejections and setbacks are great, the odds of being published slim. Therefore, I decided to go public and enlist the support of my friends.
Was it easy to tell others I was writing a novel? Nope! Am I glad I did. You betcha!
Our non-writer friends won’t “get” us at first—but with our help, they can.
Like so many who’ve boldly declared that they’re going to write a book, I met with the usual questions when I told others about my writing.
“Are you published?” “Where can I get your book?” “When will your book be out?”
Rather than let the inevitable questions discourage me, I did two things.
1) I chose to view my friends’ questions about my writing as support.
My friends like me. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be my friends, right? Therefore, I realized that their questions were a way of showing interest in me and what I’m doing.
Since my friends aren’t writers themselves, I couldn’t very well expect them to ask, “So, how did things turn out with that troublesome scene? Did shifting from the hero’s POV to the heroine’s work?” Instead, they asked the same questions I probably would have asked in my pre-writer days.
2) I viewed the questions as an opportunity to gently educate my friends.
When I began writing, I hand an insider’s view of the publishing world gained during my years working at the publishing house. Most people, however, only see the image the media presents.
I’ve lost count of the number of shows in which a writer completes that first book, sells it with no trouble, sees it on the shelves a couple of months later, and rockets to the New York Times bestseller list within weeks. I’m hooked on the show Bones and love her unique character, but the reality is that very few writers hold down a demanding job like hers—at which she works 60-80 hours per week, write a bestseller in their spare time, and make a small fortune overnight.
We writers know the realities of this business and how long and hard we have to work before we receive the first glimmers of hope. Our friends don’t. But we can teach them by giving out snippets of information slowly.
Over time, our F2F friends will grasp the realities of the publishing world.
I know. I’ve seen it happen.
These days, when I go to church or have a lunch date with an non-writer gal pal, the questions are much different.
“What have you heard from your agent?” “How are things coming with your submission?”
Rarely does a Sunday go by without at least one person asking my about my writing. This past week six did.
There are three women in particular who have been faithful to touch base with me week after week, listen intently as I respond to their inquires, and are a tremendous source of support. They graciously allowed me to get a picture with them, all taken by another supportive friend and fellow writer, Richard Burrill.
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I wanna know . . .
Are you hesitant to tell others about your writing?
What has been the response when you’ve told people that you’re writing?
How do you think you could solicit the support of your face-to-face friends?