The not-so-lonely life of a writer: Creating a Community of Support

Perhaps the most famous line comes from Hemingway, stating that “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” This is a view reiterated by several people that I talked to about my goals in writing, and I would be a liar or insane (I’m definitely the latter) if I were to deny its truth. Every day I write, I think, I imagine… and I am alone. Having said that, however, I have found refuge from this loneliness through the support of  friends, family and other lonely writers.

See? The life of a writer is not so lonely, after all.

I’m writing this post in response to a query from Amanda Staley from Support-a-Writer (a writing community on Google+), who asked about how the group could be made better – and it all came down to SUPPORT. I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to talk about support from personal experience – the support I have received has been overwhelming and humbling.  Thank you.

20 ways to support a Writer:

Please comment with any that I have missed, and I will add them to the list.

  1. Buy their book and read it. A writer writes so that you can read. Give them the satisfaction.
  2. Recommend their book to a friend that you think will enjoy it.
  3. Recommend their book to an agent / librarian / other-person-of-bookish-influence in your network.
  4. Leave an honest, kind review for them on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog etc. But remember what your mum told you –  if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
  5. Offer to critique to their work in progress.
  6. Visit and read their blog. Some of us even have interesting things to say every now and again.
  7. Leave a kind comment on a blog post.
  8. Share an article they have written via social media – write a short comment about why it’s worth reading.
  9. Support their milestones – give them a (real or virtual) high five for reaching their wordcount goal for the day, or pushing past a bad case of writer’s block. It’s the little things, people!
  10. Interview authors on your blog.
  11. Share personal stories about the pitfalls you have faced – help others learn from your experiences.
  12. Ask about their day – sometimes we just need a little normal conversation. With voices that aren’t in our head.
  13. Link to other relevant blogs in your blog post.
  14. Share links to opportunities for writers – challenges, competitions, review offers etc.
  15. Follow other writers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or social media of your preference.
  16. Join a discussion group and join the discussion, it helps us to think outside the box.
  17. Remind them that they’re not alone.
  18. Send them an article you think they will find helpful (perhaps an article that a fellow author has written? See #8)
  19. Be a sounding board for their ideas.
  20. Don’t let them give up.

Extras from my readers:

  • Let them be accountable to you by checking up on their goals e.g. “Have you sent out 5 queries this week?” or “Did you reach your word count? No? Then put away that bar of chocolate and get writing!”  – Cindy Ray Hale

20 thoughts on “The not-so-lonely life of a writer: Creating a Community of Support

  1. I absolutely LOVE your list Zee. I’m throwing a pre-release party at my house for my friends and family. I’m going to do a reading, and my niece Natasha is going to perform a song she wrote for my book. I’m also going to let them know hoe they can support me, because they are always asking me what they can do to help me. I would love to use your list as a reference. If you don’t mind. 😀 Thank you for sharing.

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  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! I reblogged it as well. I have one thing to add. I started querying agents this week, and I have a fellow author who is going to check up on me to make sure I’m actually sending out my five queries a week. So I guess you could add something along the lines of having an accountability system between authors to keep our goals.

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. I have added it to the list – it’s a good one. I’ve got a Twitter group that keeps me accountable for wordcounts, and I’ve found that helps a lot. Good luck with getting an agent x

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  3. Good list, Zee. Nothing to add. Do some of these things some of the time. Will try harder to do more of them more often. It would be wonderful to get all of that support from a range of other bloggers, readers and writers. So I recognise, I must do my share of encouraging as well as trying to build my own writers’ platform. Thank you for the reminders, Zee. I have printed them off and have them beside me to remind me to do as many of the list as I feel appropriate as and when I can.
    Phew! It’s a

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    1. I, too, do some of these things some of the time. It’s important – no matter what field you’re in – to support your industry. I’m glad it’s helped to remind others as much as reminding myself of the numerous ways we can help each other out.

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  4. Only one thing! I’d really,, really like to see the often used word ‘kind’ changed to ‘polite’! The use of ‘kind’ makes the requests sound both begging and limiting. I’m happy to get any feedback – all I ask is that it’s polite! Good or bad, I would like to hear, in polite terms. But I don’t want people reluctant to say anything because they didn’t enjoy the read.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Steve. In my eyes, kind means being honest, while still showing empathy for another’s situation. I have given feedback to people that is by no means limited or begged for, and certainly isn’t all ‘good’ but is written from a place of kindness, and it has been appreciated.

      I will stick to my guns on this one, but know that we mean the same thing 🙂

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      1. On reflection, Zee, I think that the view of ‘kind’ compared to ‘polite’ may well be one of local attitudes 😉 One of those subtle differences in variants of English 🙂

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