Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Help! I Need Somebody!

I'm obviously stuck on song lyrics again this morning.  That's okay, they seem to convey the point, and the point this morning is that though we writers spend a lot of time in solitude, exercising our gift, when we come out into the populace, we need a great support system; one that understands the nuances of the career choice we’ve made.  We need YOU! 

Writers have a special kind of friend, one that doesn’t require a lot of face time, one who understands that when their writer friend goes underground for a while, it’s not a personal attack or separation, but something the writer needs to do sometimes to get what needs to be done.  We live in a society that is so needy, touchy, and emotional (Emo – my kids would say), and immersed in a world of instant social interactions, that it is changing the face of friendships and relationships everywhere.  Now, when a writer disappears for a few days, they get bombarded with phone calls, instant messages, tweets, emails and posts often wondering where they are, what’s happened to them, why they haven’t yet responded or what’s wrong, taking the absence by the writer as a personal rebuke or pulling away from the friendship.    What’s wrong about all this is, that the writer needs a friend who won’t take moments of seclusion as a personal attack or rebuke, understanding it’s often a necessity for their writer friend, and then choose to be there when their writer friend once again resurfaces. 

Writers also need cheerleaders, friends who understand what it takes for writers to be successful in their craft.  Their business requires ‘word of mouth’ and a strong marketing campaign to make even a modicum of success.  A true writer’s friend is one who understands that their writer isn’t using them just for promotions.  In fact, the writer shouldn’t have to beg their friends to promote them, brag about them, post, tweet, or IM about them and their work or events to everyone they know.  A true friend would be happy to do these things, because they are proud of their writer friend and want them to succeed. 

Lastly, writers need the support of other writers.  There’s really no such thing as competition in this business.  The success of my fellow writer is not a threat or detriment to my own success, or lack thereof.  On the contrary, the more success my fellow writers achieve, the better a network connection is made for me, and vice versa.  I do everything I can to help promote and encourage my fellow writers.  I don’t take their sporadic absences personally, and I spread the word about their achievements, no matter how big or small, every chance I get.  When one of my writer friends makes a successful leap, I’m truly excited for them.  We shouldn’t become jealous or envious, but look to see how they did what they did and then collaborate to apply the method to our own promotion. 

If you truly support a writer, don’t only tell the writer, tell everyone else.  That’s how I know the identity of my true friends, cheerleaders and fans; I look to see who’s spreading the word about me, my books, my accomplishments, my press and my events.  Have you supported your writer friend today?  If not, take just a few seconds to show how much you love and support them – by telling someone else.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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