Writing is not a solitary experience. Unless you write something and stick it under your bed, there are at least two people involved in writing: a writer and a reader. So many times, there are even more people involved in the writing process.
When I first started writing, I thought writing was a solitary experience. I thought I would write a book, send it out to publishers and get a magical acceptance letter. For the most part, I thought a writer simply sat down at a computer or with a pen and paper or with a recorder and wrote words. (No, I do not wish to buy the Brooklyn Bridge from anyone.)
Over the past couple of years, though, I’ve learned that I was wrong. Although that may work for some people and may have been the way for writers in years’ past, I’ve discovered that writers need support.
They need the support of their family who will miss them while they go write the words, edit the words, edit some more, put the manuscript down for a bit, and then edit again. Writers need the support of other authors: to become their critique partners, beta readers, contest judges and so on. I am so thankful for the first person to ever read my work and how kind she was to a complete greenhorn who didn’t know the first thing about point of view. (I’m still learning the craft side, every single day).
I am very thankful (yeah, I’m running a little behind this year-I’m on Thanksgiving when I should be writing out my Christmas cards and wrapping the gifts I haven’t bought yet) for writing groups. This year, I joined a local writer’s group and the experience has been wonderful for me. I’ve met new friends and discovered writers, some of whom have become my role models. I’m in absolute awe of several GRW members who are not only truly nice but truly gifted. Each meeting is a mini-pep rally which leaves me stoked to return to my work in progress and make it better as well as finish it.
So I’m learning that I cannot simply hole up in a little room and crank out a book. I could, but I’m learning that by reaching out and having others read my work and tell me that I need to work on POV, pacing, word repetition, characterization and more, that makes me a better writer (well at least, I’m hoping it’s making me a better writer).
So if there are any writers out there who want to write a book and haven’t, sit down and write it. Then have someone read it and give you feedback on how to make your work better. Support from your fellow writers will make you a better writer.
The gist of this is that support is necessary: support from family, support from friends, and support from other writers. When you reach out for it, you might be surprised at how well others respond to you.
What support has propelled you to become a better writer? If you don’t write, what about your hobbies? What support has propelled you to a greater love of your hobby?