In a recent post on his website, author Max Florschutz wrote about the need for writers to have a support group. Writing, he rightly notes, comes with very real stress. To get through it, you need someone–or a few someones–who back you, not only as an author, but as the individual of high value you always are.
I could not agree with this sentiment more. It’s incredibly tough to know if we’re headed in the right direction. We sometimes need some good advice on how to organize, or to have someone talk us through early mornings when writing seems like a chore. A support group can tip us off on tools, prompts, techniques and events that can move us forward.
All of this matters. From my perspective, though, you should have people in your court for an entirely different reason than overcoming technical anxieties and hurdles–to validate writing as a profession.
All too often, what’s most stressful about writing isn’t figuring out where to send queries or editing a draft (again). It’s not figuring out how to fix plot holes or trying to get words on the page while family life divides your attention. What messes with your head the most is fighting the negative connotations being a writer has, the idea that it is “barely” a job or isn’t serious work.
We tend to get a sense of identity from our jobs, like it or not. Without a support group or individuals who can reassure you, it’s all too easy to wonder who you are or where you fit into the big picture. Without people to counter the feedback that questions your art, it’s simple to think that maybe you’re making a mistake in creating characters and worlds, or that you’re foolish for not doing other work.
And if you think that you’re foolish for writing or that there’s a better path, then guess how high the likelihood is that you’ll quit.
Whether you tap your spouse, find a writer’s group online or toss your writing at neighbors, don’t underestimate the power of finding people to walk your writing journey with you. As Florschutz points out, your support people don’t have to be other writers. They can be anyone who will hear out your dreams, be real with you and lift you up. Commit to finding them and the work will be not only technically easier, but far more enjoyable, too.