Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do writers really need support? Discuss.

Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with a writer who has been accepted for a demanding writing workshop. Before I could say congratulations, he confessed that he was wavering because before he signs on he wants to be sure he's going to have the support he needs at home.


I hope I got across my feeling on this, which is: writers must manage to keep writing, support or no support. Despite what those around us think or do or say. Truth is, even the most well-meaning friend, spouse or other relative, who thinks they are being "supportive" will often say or do or imply just the very thing which derails us.

So why let a thing like support get in the way? As for unsupportive folks, please ignore them and carry on.

And, I also recalled that I had posted something about this very thing last year. I thought it could use repeating. You can find that post: Writers' Complaint Department: Stress and the Support System, here.


Alexis Grant said...

Us writers are the biggest complainers I know! Anything and everything would keep us from writing if we let it.

Marianne said...

Ha! Alexis is right.

My more handsome half has certainly never complained to me that he's struggling to keep motivated at his (relentlessly demanding) job because he just doesn't really feel like I believe in him as a [insert relentlessly demanding job title here].

I love my writer/supporter/friends and am eternally grateful to them for cheering me on when I run out of steam. But at the end of the day if I don't have a strong belief that I need to write and the determination to keep writing, nobody is going to be able to 'support' me enough to get this book written.

Thanks Lisa!

Anonymous said...

Great point Lisa! This is so true about writing and other dreams/life goals as well. My sister has worked in a couple inner city schools, and you wouldn't believe how many people discouraged her or suggested she wouldn't be able to handle it. We need to lift each other up, but so many people feel like they are the voice of reason destined to show you your error and save you from certain misery. How much better would the world be if we all just said, "That's great! I believe in you." Unfortunately, that doesn't happen as often as we'd like to think. You got to do what's best for you, and let the Debbie Downer's go on by.

coffeelvnmom said...

This may be my naiveness talking but I wish for support almost every day. I wish for someone I could ask questions, someone who could give me advice, someone who could say "No, sorry, that makes no sense"and then give me an idea as to why, someone I could just ramble on with (or listen to) about the literary world. I could go on and on.

I ask my husband for his opinion all the time. And his answer, consistently is, "I guess... how would I know, you're asking the wrong person." And that, is my support. Not that I'm complaining. He took the time to listen, and I love him. He supports me, as well as he can, but specific support from those in a specific trade is a must. Isn't that what men get, for example, when standing or sitting around, talking about work? People saying what they think about this or that, offering suggestions as to what they did or how they went wrong?

I realize writing is like anything else in life, and that we're the only ones who can make it what it is. But who wouldn't benefit from a few "I actually read your work and I really like it"s? Or "I've felt like that before, and got through it, you will too" s? I know I would. Maybe I'm speaking of affirmation more than support... but either way, it's only natural, in my opinion, to need it.

Am I going to quit because I don't have a large group of support? No. I've worked way too hard to stop now.

Lisa Romeo said...

Coffeelvnmom -
I never meant to dismiss the huge importance of having one's own literary communit -- a group of writers who support each other with professional responses, advice, tips, and who listen to one another's challenges, rants and complaints.
I was speaking primarily about the need to forge ahead even if those (non writers) who are close to us aren't always 'supportive'.
As for making connections with other writers - well, as I hope this blog shows, we can never have too many of those!
Fire away in my direction anytime.
- Lisa

coffeelvnmom said...

Hmm... I got a little serious with that comment, didn't I? I understand what you meant, Lisa. Sorry about venting like that.;) And I agree -thank goodness for blogs and their connecting us to fellow writers!!