Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Some Friendly Advice

Writing is by nature a solitary occupation, but thankfully we don’t have to go it alone. Blogs like this one are a great way to "meet" others who are actively pursuing an interest in the same thing we are--stringing words together on paper in some meaningful way.

It’s not that we don’t love and appreciate our non-writing friends and family. We’d be lost without them. But let’s face it. Sometimes we need to be around other writers. We understand other writers, and other writers understand us.

Have you ever had some version of the following conversation?

Non-Writing Friend: What are you staring at?

You: (snapping back to reality from a faraway place) Huh?

NWF: What are you staring at? You’ve been staring out the window for half an hour.

You: I am not staring out the window. I’m untangling a knotty plot problem. A plot knot. Plot knot. Hey, that’s pretty good.

NWF: Whatever. (eye roll)

Or this:

Non-Writing Friend: What are you reading?

You: The dictionary.

NWF: The what?

You: The dictionary. It’s a big book that tells you—

NWF: I know what a dictionary is! Why are you reading it?

You: Oh. Well, I was looking up how to spell “jabberwocky,” and I got sidetracked by “jacaranda,” which is such a musical-sounding word, and then I saw “jackal,” which made me wonder if having my main character fight off a sudden attack by a rabid jackal who jumps out from behind a jacaranda would liven up Chapter Six and make the heroine finally notice him and--

NWF: Whatever. (eye roll)

You see? A Writer Friend wouldn’t say “whatever.” A Writer Friend would congratulate you on the pleasing rhyme of “plot knot” and then ask for more details so she could help you brainstorm. A Writer Friend would help you reconsider whether a jacaranda-based jackal attack is really the best plot development for a story set in midtown Manhattan. And so on. Sometimes it takes a writer to understand a writer. So whether you meet with one or two other writers, join a writers group, follow writing blogs, or all of the above, make sure to connect with other members of your "tribe."

What role have writing friends played in your life?


Jennifer Rova said...

This blog is so true. I am writing a book and non-writing friends ask, "Is your book in the stores yet?" Writing friends will ask knowingly, "How's the book proposal coming along?" Writing and publishing in any format is like a foreign country to most non-writers or writer wanna-bes. Non-writers think books are written, published and appear for sale in 6-8 weeks and think I am dragging my feet for no reason.

Jessie at Blog Schmog said...

Yes, so true. I also get strange looks when I shout, "Look, there's Clark's car!"

"Whose Clark?"

" hero in my story."


My writing mentor found me through blogging!


Point well taken; Writing friends help effect, enlighten and encourage fellow writers in their quest to be better writers.