A writer’s support network

I think I may have said this before, but if not, it bears mentioning: writing is almost always a lonely experience. We plot alone, we research alone and we write alone. We sit on our own – often hidden in a world of our own creation – and crave total peace and quiet to concentrate. But writing doesn’t have to be an exclusively solitary profession. I can choose to step outside my little one-woman bubble and seek interaction with other like-minded individuals and I dare say, if I do, I’m likely better off because of it. But why?

When I started this journey I expected and even accepted that this would be something I would do on my own. My image of a writer was stereotypical at best – the introvert holed away in an office, typing away with a “do not disturb” sign firmly placed on a closed door. It never occurred to me I might need to ask for help or want to share my struggles and achievements with others. What could they do to help? And who would I even turn to? Over time though I have realised that, without a support network, it’s a lot harder to stick to my goals and achieve my dream of one day becoming a published author. I need people and I have discovered that my friends and family are my greatest fans and the writing community is one I can count. Here’s why:

  1. Support: No one knows better than another writer how hard writing can be, how easy it is to feel inadequate and how quickly we can buckle under the pressure of everyday life and sacrifice our dedication to a dream that has no guarantee of success. Having others to encourage and support you is vital if you want to succeed.
  2. Inspiration: As writers we can be inspired by many things, but I have found that watching other writers struggle and succeed hits a whole new level of inspiration! If they can do it, so can I!
  3. Advice: Nobody is an expert from day one. No matter how much you want to believe you can ace this on your own, you will undoubtedly discover that you have questions you cannot answer and problems you cannot solve. Other writers have been where you are and can be a great source of advice if you need it. They can potentially help you avoid making the same mistakes they themselves made, share some insider tips and help guide you through your journey to becoming an author.
  4. Feedback: At some point in your writing process you will need to share what you have written with other people. As scary as that may be – especially when this is your first attempt at writing and you’re afraid of finding out you have no talent whatsoever – you need to hear what other people think. Why? Because we can’t always be objective about our own work. Now, you may be lucky and the feedback you receive is glowing and full of praise for your creative genius, but more often than not you’ll get a whole bunch of constructive feedback that will help make you a better author and ensure your book is the best it can be. No one likes to hear what they’re doing wrong, but if you listen to the feedback you’ve been given and fix what needs fixing, your book will without a doubt be all the better for it.

And so, despite our tendency to work alone, writers truly do need a support network in order to succeed. Having others around to support and encourage you, give you advice and constructive feedback when you need it or just to bring you a new cup of tea and a thumbs up when you feel like a failure – it could make all the difference between succeeding as an author or leaving your dream half-finished and buried in a corner of your hard-drive.

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