Making Your Support System

I’m lucky enough to have a great support system in everything I do, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some speed bumps. For instance, I learned in sixth grade to tell my mom that she is only allowed to read my stuff for enjoyment, and I want her initial thoughts and feelings, not her editing. This is because I edit as I write and then edit again, but I love passages in my early drafts and want to see how it works with a non-writing reader.

In the case of others, I am constantly volleying ideas to friends. They know enough that I will probably not write the concept I toss at them, but the idea gets me excited, and I technically gauge their reaction to see if it’s worth further exploration. Even my son is a litmus test. Only I tend to use that litmus test for an extra push to keep writing. He’s really good at telling me to keep going.

Writing is very much a solitary activity, and it’s easy to lose sight of family and friends. But, there is also a vice versa to it. Sometimes, the support system may not be as supportive as you need. If that’s the case, it’s encouraged to be a part of writing groups or even a reading group and find booknerds willing to be the literary guinea pig.

But what about the family members you are constantly with? How do you get them to understand you need that particular time and write?

There are several things you can do. For me, I find time early in the day or late at night when no one else is awake to get that few minutes in. I also give someone a job. You’d be surprised how much a person loves torturing another, and if you tell someone that you need them to help you with accountability, they get pretty creative themselves.

My son likes to prevent me from having sweets until I can get a certain number of words down. Sure, I could sneak something during the day, but knowing I can potentially disappoint him does the trick.

We’ve also made it a tradition where he does homework as I’m writing. This is a triple threat win. We are spending time together, he’s getting his work done, and I’m getting mine done. There is something about giving them a job that does help.

But what if a job won’t work?

Well, is there some kind of research you need to do? Could your loved one know something you can incorporate into your writing? Sometimes, giving them the time to explain their own passion will help them realize the passion you have in your writing. And, showing it in your fiction helps them see the importance of it.

You can also go on a trip with your loved ones, show them how this trip could help with your writing. The point is, you should find ways to get your loved ones involved. They may just not understand the emotional impact writing has for you and only you are able to show them it.

Now, let me just impart some wisdom to the loved ones. Be patient, guys. Writing is a long process and you are going to find moments when your writer is off in another world. You may not realize it now, but the book they are writing has a bit of you in there. It may be a character, a trait, a sentence you’ve said, or even the emotion your writer has for you. Value the fact that every day your writer is bein vulnerable when they are writing. This is a part of their soul they are putting to paper whether you or they realize it or not.

Maybe join that writer group with your writer and see what their deal is. Perhaps you can make a separate group that has all of the family of writers together as a sort of support group for the support. But, most of all, talk with your writer. Try to understand where they are coming from and find little ways that will nurture them but also nurture your own relationship with them.

I hope that if your support system isn’t as strong as you’d like, that you will find a way for you to strengthen your foundation and make you a better writer.

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