What Your Writer Friends Need

Writers, like all creative people, are a different breed. We spend long hours alone, often struggling, as we write down a story. We select the tale, the setting, the characters and everything that happens. We search for the right words constantly, whether actively writing or not. Then, we spend hours alone, trying to make our thoughts live on paper. Here’s a revelation: we can’t help it – it’s who we are.

In many ways writing books is like putting a puzzle together. And I love a good puzzle, whether it’s a jigsaw, a crossword, a search-and-find or a treasure hunt. Writing is a lot like cooking: choosing ingredients, stirring them up, and then adding some heat so it can later be enjoyed. Food feeds the body, but words feed the soul.

Do you know any writers? If you do, listen up.

Writers crave four things, and I believe all creative people crave these same things, whether they are writers, painters, poets, sculptors, dancers or musicians. (And for most of us, fame and fortune is NOT a craving.)

  1. We crave the solitude to create.
  2. We crave the sense of accomplishment that comes when a labor of love is finished.
  3. We crave an audience that will enjoy what we have created.
  4. We crave recognition that our talent is appreciated.

Unfortunately, these cravings are sometimes difficult to live with. Many a creative person is unable to withstand these cravings, and  uses alcohol, drugs, or other addictions to subdue these needs.

If you are lucky enough to know someone who is a writer, here’s how you can help.

  1. Be an audience! Read our books, enjoy our paintings, or our music. And then tell others about it!
  2. Offer to help get the word out about our projects. For writers, this can take several forms:
    1. Write reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Nobles or  on your local library website. (Reviews don’t have to be long, a few sentences about what you liked most will do.)
    2. Request that your library include the book in their collection.
    3. Ask your organizations to feature the author as a speaker.
    4. Suggest that your book club read a book by this author.
    5. Facilitate an author panel at your local school or library.
    6. Nominate your favorite author, and their books, for awards.
  3. Finally, congratulate your writer friends on their accomplishments. Writing a book, period, is a tremendous achievement and often requires years of work. Any kudos are welcome. If the book gets nominated for an award, that is a major accomplishment; if a book WINS an award, that borders on a miracle.
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