Adopt a Writer

All across the world, millions of writers are struggling to put one word after the other. Many of those writers won’t make it past their first draft. Others will never make it past the editing process For those who manage to complete a novel, they are still faced with a world of uncertainty. When will they find an agent? Will they ever make a sale? How do I turn the damn computer on?

I’ve been asked if you ever get used to it. How could a human ever get used to the pain? The tweet of a writer receiving their first rejection. The status update of the writer who has just lost their entire novel due to hardware failure. Or the low moaning of someone who realizes the plot they’ve been slaving over for years has already been done . . . to death.

No. I can’t get used to this anymore than you can. But you can help. Yes you can!

For as little as a few supportive comments a month, you can support a writer. You can validate their latest plot. Breathe life into one of their characters. They may even name a character after you. All you have to do is let them know that you care. Take five minutes to comment on their blog. They’ll probably even write you a personalized comment back. Tell them that you believe in them. Even if you don’t. Read their stuff and share it.

Can you think of a better time to support the writer in your life? Don’t let them be dragged down by their own self-doubt. Find it in your heart to adopt a writer, and there’s only a small chance you’ll regret it.

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4 thoughts on “Adopt a Writer

  1. My family is fighting the flu right now and I’m wondering if I can make it through this message without losing my cookies! If it seems to end abruptly, well…

    Speaking of being sick, my 8 year old daughter was in the bathroom barfing a couple of hours ago. She had tears rolling down, but wasn’t sobbing as she usually does when sick. She sat up at the kitchen counter for a second while my wife told her not to worry, it would pass. After taking some deep breaths, Miranda stood up to go back to bed and I told her “you’re really tough, Miranda. Barfing sucks, I know. But you really are tough for just fighting through it.” I just wanted her to have something to feel good about if at all possible.

    At my 4 year old son’s soccer game on Saturday, I was prepared for more of the same from him: look up at the ballpark lights and let the soccer ball bounce off his shins without noticing. But I decided that repeating “look at the ball, Liam. Where is the ball” was not working. Instead, I commended him on every little thing he did. “Wow, you’re so fast! Whoa, did you just kick that?” Etc. Lo and behold, I’ve never seen Liam play so well. It was a no-duh moment for me. He needed something to feel good about to keep him going.

    I’ve received similar advice when taking my puppy Luna to dog training. Lots of praise works! They feed off that stuff.

    I don’t think there is anything different when it comes to writing. Writers reveal themselves in a vulnerable way to just about anyone that will take the time to look. I know I’ve shown stuff to family members and close friends and if one of them said “I like it” I lapped it up like Luna laps water. It’s funny to think about how much the non-responses STILL bother me. Harper Lee said “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” I don’t think she is addressing just rejection, but anything the writer perceives as rejection. “Oh, my kid brother is not even going to comment on the first 30 pages of my manuscript I sent him six months ago, huh?” It stings.

    Regardless of whether we are writing something equivalent to barf, we could use the praise just to make ambling to bed a little more tolerable. If we are writing something we believe in, but are doing a poor job keeping the tense correct, or the punctuation perfect, maybe some positive feedback will get us to kick out something better next time. The point is, praise and attention works. If you have a friend that wants you to read something, they might be looking for you to give them the boost we all could use in life.

    But writers, if it never comes, you may need to find your boost elsewhere. Perhaps it can’t be in the form of praise and attention. Maybe you need to write angry! You need to consider that no one believes in what you’re doing but you. You may need to have a chip on your shoulder and say, “you know what little brother?!? The next time I send you something, I’m gonna make sure it knocks you right

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