Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Friends

For years, I was a recluse.  Not actually, of course.  I went to school, I worked, I had friends.  But I kept my writing to myself, never talked about it in fact.  Like it was a dirty secret.  Like, instead of making up stories, I was sitting in the dark making s'mores out of the dust bunnies and used chewing gum.

Even my husband didn't know I wrote.  At all.  And I've known him since I was 15 years old.  I don't remember exactly how many years it took me to tell him, but it was more than 5, I know that.  To be perfectly honest, I still get a little red-faced and heart-fluttery when I talk to people about my writing in real life.  

But I know that's not normal.  And it's not helpful.  Because writers need friends.  Writing friends.

Here's why:
  1. Writers are a special brand of crazy, and only other writers will completely understand that kind of crazy.  You NEED that writer friend who won't call a mental health professional when you admit you've checked your email 100 times in the last 90 minutes, or start talking about your characters like they are real people.
  2. Writing in a vacuum sucks.  (Ha! You see what I did there?)  If you never let anyone else see your work, you'll never know if it's any good.  You might never learn that you've been using the subjunctive wrong your whole life.
  3. When you get stuck, writer friends will help you brainstorm your way through to the next part of your story.  Sure, sometimes they suggest throwing a nuclear weapon into your contemporary romance, but usually something helpful comes out of a brainstorming session.  Even if it's just that your own creativity gets shaken loose.
  4. Only other writers know how utterly squeeful it is to type The End, or get that Shiny New Idea, or see your cover art for the first time, or get the word that the Really Famous Writer is going to blurb your book, or see your pre-order button appear at Amazon.
  5. Writers are some of the most supportive people I've ever met.  Sure, there are some baddies out there who like to cut newbies down, and there are people who will be jealous when you get an agent/win a contest/get a contract/win the cover lottery/etc.  But there will be ten times as many who are jumping up and down with excitement for you.
  6. Writers have good taste in books.  When you need a recommendation, these are the people to go to.  And let's face it, you started writing because you love to read.
  7. Two words:  Grammar jokes.  You need people in your life who will appreciate how hilarious they are.
So, don't be a crazy hermit like I used to be.  It's so much more fun with friends. 

3 comments:

Heather Whitley said...

Yes. To all of it. Amen, Liz. And it's not just the jubilation and anxiety that writer friends empathize, but also the angst, fear and grief. Emotions are better when you can share them, when you feel like someone 'gets' what you're going through. Writing comes with a lot of ups and downs, and that kind of roller coaster is better with a friend.

Claire Hennessy said...

Friends are sooo important. And writer friends especially so. Great post and I am loving meeting so many more writers on this A-Z Challenge. Nice to meet you :)

Leslie Rose said...

Sooooooo true. It's so important to share your "writing world" with those who "get it."