The fourth article in a four part series.
Here we are. The last obstacle.
And it’s a doozy.
Support, both professional and personal, can be a deciding factor for whether you continue your writing or abandon it. So…
How do I find professional support?
The easiest way is to sign up for a workshop or class. If you like your instructor, keep in touch. They may not always have time to read your work, but they can offer you the encouragement you need to keep going.
Believe it or not, rejection can sometimes yield useful feedback. Agents may not have the time, but literary magazine editors may give you notes on your short story. Accept them.
There are also writers out there who are just as vulnerable, just as frustrated as you are. Why not host a networking night? It’s a great chance to talk about writing challenges and triumphs. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your new best friend. Maybe you’ll find a mentor. (Or maybe you’ll drink a lot of wine and bitch about writer’s block. Either way, it couldn’t hurt)
Professional support isn’t going to fall into your lap. You have to seek it out. Find community where you can. And remember, you are not alone.
What if I don’t have personal support?
I’ve been very lucky that my family, spouse and friends are all super supportive. (Thank you, everyone!) But what happens if your loved ones aren’t? If your work is an extension of yourself and they don’t love it, how can they love you? Believe it or not, they can. They just might not understand why you do what you do. They may not appreciate books, writing or the arts. At the end of the day if the people you love don’t love that you write, remind yourself that they don’t have to. You’re not writing for them. You are writing for you. You’re the one who has something to say. If they don’t want to read it, that’s fine. Other people will.
If you can’t find personal support among family and friends, can you find it within yourself? For Writers Only author Sophy Burnham says, “I remember once discussing with a playwright how we talked to ourselves when we’re not working well. ‘Oh, I speak roughly to myself!’ I said. ‘I scold myself and shout and whip at myself to quit this laziness and get to work.’ She looked at me in surprise. ‘Oh, no.’ she said. ‘You must never speak to yourself like that…. No, what you do is to put your arm around your shoulder and comfort yourself…’ I was amazed. I had never heard of that. But the next time I felt despairing I remembered her advice – and to my surprise my heart immediately lifted, and immediately I sat back down to work.”
Do you believe in you? Stop focusing on what you don’t like about your writing and concentrate on what you do like. If you are able to give yourself encouragement and confidence, that’s all the only support you will ever need.
Now give yourself a hug and get back to work.