Writers are a unique breed of animal. We need alone time but crave attention. We want silence but need the noise. We want to be left to our own devices but we need someone to tell us that we are good at what we do. I think it is safe to say that we, as writers, don’t often know what we want or need for that matter.
For me personally I can be both needy and independent and often at the same time. It can be confusing for my family and my friends who don’t write. They have no idea what is happening inside of my head so they don’t understand the daily battle I wage to win the war of story. While I am hobnobbing with those in the waking world I am also usually deeply immersed with the people inside my head too. While my spouse is explaining the ins and outs of hosting the family weekend with all the relatives I am also trying to decide whether or not to kill Peter. Sometimes the details of Peter’s death drown out the voice of my spouse and when I look at her and say “huh?” She gets upset and thinks that I was just not listening to her. The truth is I was trying to find just the right way to kill Peter, without getting caught;mI really wasn’t ignoring her.
The thing is, there is no way that my spouse could ever understand the dilemma that is my world. A non-writing person doesn’t have conversations inside their heads about stories that haven’t happened yet. They are not constantly in a flux of creation, determining the lives of people not yet in existence. They have never given birth to a character and then held that characters life in their hands trying to decide in a God-like manner what to do next. There is simply no way for the non-writer to truly understand our world.
So how then does a person support a writer? The answer is simple….be there. Here are eight ways to support the writer in your life.
- Understand that the world of the writer is complicated and often crowded.
- Get that your writer is not ignoring you but instead is just huddled in a corner of their minds somewhere hashing out the plot.
- Be patient – The live in two worlds and they are both busy.
- Be kind - Writers often put themselves down; be kind to them because they won’t do it themselves.
- Feed them - because they often won’t feed themselves. It is easy to get caught up in the work and forget.
- By them “writer stuff” – No one understands this one but it is important. Buying your writer something as stupid as a mug that says “I am a writer” shows that you support them.
- All them the quiet – Writers need some time to themselves. Understand that inspiration often doesn’t work on the clock and be understanding when they jump out of bed at 3 a.m.
- Love them despite their flaws – This, of course, could work for anyone but it really works for writers. We know we are damaged; it’s what makes us good writers…love us anyway.
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