- by Jan Scarbrough
Writing fiction is often a thankless job. Not only is the competition stiff, but often your best effort goes unrewarded. The dreaded rejection letter, whether a form or a personal “good” letter, is all too common for most novelists. That’s why we need the support of other writers, our “writing buddies” as I like to call them.
Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical author Renee Ryan agrees. “Fellow writers are truly the only other people who understand the highs and lows of the emotional roller coaster we fiction writers have chosen to ride—willingly, no less. Friends and family don’t understand (not that they don’t try) but, honestly, when a rejection rolls in, who better to trust with our pain than someone who received the same response a few days before? Or when that tenth sale comes through only a fellow writer understands that there is nothing ‘old hat’ about that call.”
There’s nothing worse than a friend asking “When is your next book coming out?” What next book? Although I may have a “work in progress,” that doesn’t mean I have a contract and a “next” book. I usually write on speculation, completing a full manuscript before submitting it to an agent or publisher.
A writing buddy “gets it.” Resplendence Publishing author Magdalena Scott says, “No one else really understands what writing takes out of a person, and what a passion it is. I am fortunate to have many supportive people in my life, but to talk writing and publishing in more than general terms, at least with most of them, is impossible. They want to be interested, but their eyes glaze over.”
Writing buddies help you learn your craft. Most novelists I’ve met are generous with their time and guidance. Medallion Press author Cheryl Norman concurs. “More experienced, published writers have given me practical advice, not sugar-coated or meaningless praise. Judges in contests gave me detailed critiques and helped me get on track. One in particular, Vicki Hinze, gave me a one-hour, long distance phone call (at her expense, bless her heart!) teaching me about author intrusion and how to avoid it. Thanks to her, I turned that manuscript into my first mass-market paperback sale.”
Joanne Rock, author of over thirty books for Harlequin/Silhouette, puts it this way, “Other writers provide me with critiquing help, industry insights, brainstorming input, promotional boosts, technical support and social networking. They give me cover quotes, talk up my books to readers who might be interested, link to my website, provide expert advice and assure me I can meet my deadline when I’m overwhelmed. I don’t think my writing would be half as fun or as successful without that outside help.”
For me, the support of other writers has been invaluable. In fact, it’s what makes the long hours and frequent disappointments worth it.
Multi-published author Maddie James sums it all up. “Writing is such a solitary thing. It’s not so much that I need my writing buddies to critique or pump me up about what I’ve written, but just for them to be there for me when I need to whine or vent about what is, or isn’t happening, with my writing and/or writing career.”