This is only an opinion of course, and you may have your own. You may even think I’m wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time). But there is a truth that I’ve recently come to realize. Writers, probably the only people reading my blog at this point, need each other.
Sure, we can’t do the work for one another and I’m not convinced that I’ll ever be interested in a writer’s group, but I am convinced that we need other people in our lives who do what we do and know, without having to talk about it, how important it is. How utterly vital it is to our existence and sanity to tell the stories locked away inside.
I am in the middle of writing a novel. Last night after a day long writing marathon that produced no less than 10,000 words I was dejected and lost in the way that you can only be after pouring so much of yourself onto paper then realizing that none of it makes much sense, that there may or may not be a shaky plot-line and that one of the main characters is begging to be killed off. Right now.
Luckily I have a few writer friends and when I saw one of them online I proceeded to give him my verbal novelist resignation. “I want to delete it all.” I whined (because sometimes writers and especially me need to throw temper tantrums)
“Don’t fucking do it.”
I stopped banging away on the keyboard and watched while he went on to tell me why I should keep going and why I shouldn’t stop. Somewhere between the beginning and the end the fire was lit underneath me once again. Of course I wouldn’t quit. Who will tell this story if I wont?
He did something great for me, that other writer friends have done and that I hope to be able to do. He gave me encouragement and reminded me what might have taken days of beating my head against my desk and cursing the written word to realize on my own. That sometimes writing is hell and maybe what we write will never be seen by another, but stories, the telling and the taking in of them, may be just the reason people like us are alive, so we have to keep going. There is no quitting.
We don’t need to hear how great we are or what potential we show. We don’t need our egos stroked, often we’ll need the opposite. But in the depths of our writing despair sometimes what we need to hear is the voice of someone we respect, who knows what we’re feeling, telling us (not so gently) to keep writing.
You can survive without friends like that, as you can survive without close friends in life but having them and being one makes the journey a little lighter and the path a little sweeter.
Callie Armstrong © 2013