Friday, February 4, 2011

Why writing friends are so necessary

Writers need to talk to other writers about writing.

I realize this sounds like stupid advice. No, really I do. But it's important and I tend to forget it a lot.

Now, I know I'm not the most active person on the net (it's my inner lurker qualities rearing their ugly heads), but it's not like I'm silent. I make small talk with people on twitter and I comment on blogs. But I'm still pretty new to the online writing community, so it's not like I have too many friends. Also, blogs and twitter are not the same as a private convo on messenger or a phone call with a critique partner.

More intimate conversations with other writers are awesome. You can commiserate. You can be a cheerleader. You can compare word counts. You can snap someone out of a funk.

On the other hand, trying to talk to people in your life who aren't writers about writing is kind of frustrating at times. Mostly because there's no common experience to draw from. Without realizing it, I've been trying to do this recently. It hasn't been going well.

But last night I had the joy of chatting with my one critique partner and it was wonderous. So let me tell you everyone, that talking to writers about writing is amazing. Here are five reasons why:
  1. Writers get that locking yourself up in your room and staring at a computer screen for hours sucks.
  2. Writers understand the "I SUCK" emotion and don't attribute it to the idea that you're looking for attention.
  3. Writers are a bit more justified in telling you to suck it up and write 4000 words tomorrow when you really, really don't want to.
  4. Writers would point out that you've used the word "suck" in the last three points and that it doesn't mean you're a horrible writer. Really. It doesn't
  5. Writers also understand that sitting down and typing is easy, but sitting down and typing something good (aka: not using "suck" in evert sentence) is hard.
Have you ever tried to talk up writing to someone that isn't a writer? Did they care? Did they understand your trauma? What about your critique partners? Or is there really no difference at all for you? Tell me in the comments.


katespins said...

I so agree with you. Talking to other writers is great, having a critique partner is great,,having online writing friends is great. Having a writing group to go to is also great. I talk to people all the time who aren't writers and they are pretty clueless. People always want to read your Nano right after you finish. Some people think its ready for publication at that point. The average person has no clue just how long it takes to get something to the state where you might even think about publication. When people see someone like Beth Revis all they see is that her first published book is on the best sellers list. They don't realize she had to write eleven other novels to get to that one. Yes writing is hard and only other writers really understand that.

Sarah Robertson said...

Exactly! There's this strange misconception that writers have it easy. And maybe, in the scheme of things, we do. I mean, sitting down and typing stuff up isn't hard. Really it isn't. I mean, our comments here are writing. What's hard is making what you write meaningful.

Patricia said...

You forgot writing friends will tell you when a part does suck. Most friends sum up your story into one sentence, "I Love it!" And all the while you're thinking, "Okay, what did you love? What really clicked with you?" Writer friends will elaborate on what they loved and what they didn't.

Sarah Robertson said...

Ahh! I can't believe I failed to mention that! I think maybe I was trying to get there with point four, but you are so completely correct. Writer friends are wonderful because they do have varied opinions on your writing.

Amy Rose Davis said...

So, so true. I'm lucky that my friends and family members are all very supportive of my writing, but they don't really get the writer angst or creative trauma we put ourselves through. Talking to other writers is absolutely vital! I've found a fantastic online community of talented writers who help keep me sane. :)


Pippa Jay said...

There is nothing - NOTHING - greater than talking to friends who write. Or writers who are friends. Most people who don't write aren't interested, or just look at you in a slightly puzzled way as if you are vaguely mad (which I think most writers are, but that's not the point!). Only other writers 'get' the whole writing thing - the frustrations, the obsession, and the joy. I don't know what I'd do without them!

Sarah Robertson said...

It's definitely true that a supportive family group trumps an unsupportive one. I'm happy to hear that you're covered on all bases though. I think it's amazing how close-knit and supportive the online writing community is. :)

Sarah Robertson said...

Haha, without other writers to chat with I'd probably really go mad!

India Drummond said...

You're absolutely right. Even family isn't that helpful… And sometimes they are worse. Because they are trying to be helpful, but they don't really understand what you need to hear. Non-writers often think writing is easy, because after all it's just typing. And it's hard to appreciate the up and down rollercoaster of the business end of writing, the obsessively hitting send and receive on your e-mail when waiting for the answer to a query, or why you can't let yourself feel good about "good enough". I've been writing for over twenty years, and NOTHING has helped me so much as the recent availability of online writers groups and other social communication tools

Sarah Robertson said...

I've always thought it funny how non-writers think writing should be easy, especially when most of them personally don't find writing (as in school papers I supposed) to be easy. Of course anything that doesn't require years of schooling is generally lumped in with "easy."

I do love how close-knit the online writing community is though!

Brenna Braaten said...

This made me get all teary-eyed for a minute. I'm sad I didn't read it before now. And I'm glad I helped. *hug*

I agree on all points. Especially because I know what you went through and what kinds of problems you were having. That's hard for writers too, so for nonwriters it's almost impossible to fully grasp. I love having you to talk to.

Sarah Robertson said...

Yeah, jeeze, I tell you that I'm writing a post that mentions you and you don't even bother to read it? Pshaw. :P

But I enjoy talking to you too! *hug*

Brenna Braaten said...

I'm in a sucky place right now where I don't remember the things that I should. Because I totally should have.

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