This blogpost was originally published as a guest post about the third volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner for Readers Roost.
How can others support you on your writing journey?
Stephen King once said: ‘Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.’
Having grown up surrounded by those who didn’t believe in me and my writing dreams, I know first-hand that someone showing even the tiniest bit of faith can feel immensely supportive. Over the years, however, I found that there are many more ways people can and want to support the writers in their life.
Brilliant news, right? But before we go out looking for more support, there are a few things we need to be clear on first.
What kind of support do you need?
Different people might have different ideas on how best to support you on your writing journey, but what is the kind of support you need right now?
Do you need someone to take the kids to school? Would it be helpful if someone picked up a few things for you at the store? Are their any responsibilities you could share with others? Any care work you’re doing? Could you carpool to work with a colleague so you spend less time on public transport and more time behind your laptop? What if you had dinner at a friend’s place once a week so you can write instead of cook and clean up?
This list could go on because no writer’s needs are exactly the same. Perhaps you get tons of writing done as you sit on the bus to your day job. If that’s the case, don’t carpool, but do think of other ways the people in your life might be able to support you and your writing dreams.
Who could you best ask for support?
Once you’re clear on what kind of support you could use, you need to get clear on who would be best to ask for what. Your neighbour might be more than willing to do some groceries for you, but if they’re the talkative kind who just doesn’t know how to drop off your bags without keeping you away from your laptop for an hour… you might want to ask one of your siblings instead.
Likewise, if one of your friends is thrilled you’ll be coming for dinner once a week but doesn’t appreciate that you leave right after to get your writing done, then this is not the right friend for that kind of support. That doesn’t mean they can’t support you in another way, but you might want to find someone else to do that weekly dinner with.
To give one more example, your partner’s job might prevent them from taking the kids to school or picking them up, but they might be able to take them to their dance classes, piano lessons, or soccer practice. Or, if you’re usually the one doing stories at bedtime or making breakfast in the morning, perhaps they could do it instead so you can use that time to write. The possibilities are endless if you’re willing to look for them and ask.
What does and doesn’t work?
Once your support systems are in place, it’s essential to keep checking in with yourself and those involved to make sure whatever you agreed on is (still) working for you both. What seemed a perfect fit at the very start might turn out not to work a few weeks or months in, for whatever reason. Perhaps one of you had different expectations, or maybe something has changed in your or their lives.
Whatever’s the case, if agreements need to tweaked or ended altogether, do so, no matter how hard it might feel. It’s the only way to keep your support systems working and all people involved happy, which includes you.