Who You Need
It may seem like writing is a solitary profession – and in some ways, it is – but it shouldn’t be. Really, it’s good to have all kinds of people around when you’re working on that first draft or, horror of horror, revising.
And in my experience, that includes;
1. Someone who will tell you you’re brilliant
Let’s face it, sometimes we’re not looking for constructive criticism. Sometimes we don’t want someone to tell us that a character could be better developed or the pacing is slow at the beginning of the book. In fact, sometimes those comments just make us cry. Or scream. Or throw things. In short, sometimes we just need to be told our work is awesome.
2. Someone who will tell you the truth
Because even though it feels good to have someone tell you that you are brilliant, surrounding yourself with only those kinds of people won’t do you any good in the long run. In the long run, you need someone who loves you and your work enough to tell it to you straight. But only while you can still fix it. After that, see Necessary person #1.
3. Someone who will tell people you are busy
Because when you are in the writing groove – that amazing, exhilarating place where the story feels like it’s telling itself – even something like a phone call can blow it all to bits. Come to think of it, this is doubly true when you’re in that horrifying, depressing place where you can’t even remember what the story’s ABOUT.
4. Someone who will bring you food
Actually, make that someone who will bring you decent food. That’s because if you’re on a deadline or just in the zone, there will be long periods when you will eat nothing punctuated by moments of sheer gluttony with whatever you can get your hands on. Preferably something you can eat while typing. In short, a writer can live on hand-held food alone.
5. Someone to remind you that you are more than a writer.
Because you ARE. It’s easy to get caught up in our work and in seeing our work in the public eye. It’s easy to worry about what reviewers, critics, readers, and bloggers, think. But we need people in our lives to remind us that we are more than our writing. A child needing a bedtime story, a spouse needing a companion (and talk about anything BUT writing), a friend needing a shoulder to cry on, a pet needing to be fed. All of these remind us that, however all-encompassing our work can feel (and it CAN. We do, after all, spend large parts of our lives in made-up towns, planets, worlds), we are more than that. LIFE is more than that.
And having people around us to put it all in perspective is the best kind of gift.