Find Your Writing Advocates
The most important piece of writing advice I’ve received came from a reader who wanted to see me succeed.
Writers too often go it alone. The luckiest among us have a supportive network of family and friends ready to champion our work. Others have an adopted online family of other writers and readers who rally when the going gets rough. Some writers have nobody but themselves pushing them on.
Like most artists, writers thrive when they have people who support their vision. Patronage and material support can liberate the artist to focus on creating. But even if it doesn’t pay the bills, the “moral support” found in a friend who believes in your work can keep you going.
In fact, the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever personally received came from a non-writer who reads my work. He saw I was struggling to promote my work and he said something so simple it might be dismissed as a platitude:
The reader was responding to my newsletter, where I share new poems and short stories along with tidbits about my thoughts on writing. In this issue, I expressed some frustration at the daunting task of marketing my books.
“Just focus on writing,” my reader said. “You should write as much as you can and don’t spend so much time on ‘personal brand’ stuff. There’s time to market later and your writing will speak for itself when the time comes. Just write as much as you can. Work on your books.”
Good advice? A look at publishing industry marketing trends suggests it is technically not the correct course of action.
A look at my level of inspiration and output after reading it, however, suggests it is exactly what I needed to hear to kick me into high creative gear.
What does your support system look like? What, if anything, do you need from your supporters to sustain your creative drive? If you’re one of those writers going it alone, you might not realize how beneficial even a single supportive friend could be.
I know, because I’ve been in that situation. Aside from my spouse, only my teenage sons are aware that I write poetry or fiction. Even they were unaware until this year.