I am not a fan of differentiating between writing professionally and writing as a hobby in most cases. Because, to me, if you love writing, you’re a writer. End of story.
However, if you are writing professionally, or working your way on a journey to publication, having a group of writer friends can make a huge difference. To your attitude, your positivity, your decision making and your tenacity in an industry that can sometimes be a little hard to deal with.
I think it comes down to 3 types of writer friends.
Ones who write too:
I really enjoyed studying creative writing as part of my degree at university, and in so doing I found a group of like-minded people. People who wanted to explore their craft, who saw the world a certain way and wanted to dedicate their lives to creativity. Even as our lives have changed, our jobs have moved in different directions, I still have friends who are happy to chat about their fictional worlds and pretend people.
Ones who encourage you to write:
With both friends and colleagues, I’ve always enjoyed having ‘writing dates’. These aren’t so much about the talking about the writing, but just being around others who do it too. Facilitating your own writing whilst encouraging others to do it too is the most fun. It’s like a mini-retreat, where you can focus on your writing without the guilt of ignoring others, or the loneliness of locking yourself away!
Ones who are also professionals:
The professional writing world can be really hard. Submitting to publishers or agents, waiting to hear, rewriting and dealing with difficult edits, disappointing reviews or publication days that didn’t go as planned. It can be a world of crazy highs and lows and not everyone gets it.
There are loads of people out there who would dismiss someone ‘writing another little book’, or who think it’s crap, or pointless or that you’re wasting your time.
My author friends are the ones I talk to when I’m not sure if contract terms are normal, or if I’m pulling my hair out over edits. They’re the ones I tell when I get a new deal, or I’ve finished a rewrite, or when there’s exciting news on the horizon.
Someone who gets how difficult and amazing it is to write a book is the person you want to share your news with. They give it gravitas, they won’t dismiss it and they’ll understand exactly what you’re going through and what it means.
Writing can be hard enough, without coming up against negativity, doubt or that distinct look that just says ‘I don’t get it’. If you don’t know writers, hop on Twitter or into Facebook groups! They’re so full of useful information, comradery and support.
Also, don’t miss out on your agent or publisher parties – as an introvert I sometimes find them a bit overwhelming (and then I drink too much to feel confident and that is not a good idea!) but it’s so worth it to have friendships that nourish and support your creativity.
Do you have writer friends? What types? And what do they mean to you?