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Lean on Me: Why Fellow Writer Friends are Important

by Tamara Fickas

Writing is solitary work. The idea of a hermit sitting at his computer/typewriter pounding out word after word has been around a long time. I sometimes think that’s what appeals to me about writing. As an introvert, I love the idea of writing in solitude. When I lived in Oregon, I used to drive through the Columbia River Gorge and see the houses built high up on the cliffs with no one around for miles. “Ah, I could write great best-sellers if I lived somewhere like that.”

When we get into writing, though, we find that the important part of our career, the production of words, sentences, and paragraphs is most often done in solitude. However, a writer can’t subsist without other people. We find that the writing and revising isn’t always the problem. Often the problem is real life. You know all those things that eat into your writing time and create stress. Our true enemies masquerade as an overflowing toilet, another rejection letter, or a day job full f problems. How often I’ve said the words and heard them from my friends, “That’s it. I’m done. Take the computer. I’m no longer going to write.”

That’s when we need to throw off our hermit robes and embrace our fellow writers. We all need a circle of friends to support and encourage. Yeah, critiques are great, but sometimes we don’t need a discourse on how to make our work better. Sometimes we need someone to say, “It’s okay. I’ve been there. Let me help.” Writers need people to walk the hard road with us.

We all have friends and family who cheer us on and support us in our writing. They love us and want what’s best for us. However, they don’t always understand our writer’s mind. Having a group of writers that you can share with is important. Groups like your local ACFW Chapters are good, but if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend building a group of people you can share anything with, whether it’s writing related or not.

I’ve been blessed to be part of such a group for the last four years. We are all a different stages of our life and writing careers. We share the mundane details of our life because we know that these are the things that interfere with our writing work. The group has grown closer over the years, and that closeness is key to helping us navigate through the highs and lows of writing. A group of close writer friends has made the journey easier.

So, do your hermit thing when you need to get the work done, but don’t forget that we all need friends to lean on.

What about you? Do you have a group of friends to support you in your writing? Do you have words of encouragement for someone just starting out on how to build such a group?

Tamara FickasTamara Fickas is an employee at a local hospital by day and freelance writer by night. She is momma to a very spoiled kitty cat named Wilson. Stories have enthralled her since she was a child, and she enjoys finding the stories in everyday life. Tamara is a contributing author to God’s Provision in Tough Times and a regular contributor to Girls Night In: The Blog for Single, Over-40 Women. You can visit her blog at www.rockymountainwriter.com.

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17 Responses to Lean on Me: Why Fellow Writer Friends are Important

  1. Angela Chwastek says:

    Hey there!
    I’ve recently started writing christian fiction and appreciated your blog. Do you have any suggestions on finding groups either on line or in my area? Thanks for your encouraging words and God bless!
    Angela

  2. Angela Chwastek says:

    Hey there!
    I’ve recently started writing christian fiction and appreciated your blog. Do you have any suggestions on finding groups either on line or in my area? Thanks for your encouraging words and God bless!
    Angela

  3. When I started Inspire Christian Writers, I wanted to create a group for mutual writing support, encouragement and industry news. I had no idea I would grow to love the other writers so much. It’s exciting to cheer each other on as we learn and grow as writers.

  4. I’ve been blessed with many writer friends, but I have three who have grown as close as sisters. We have our 2nd annual writers retreat coming up in three weeks and I’m so excited! We live all over the U.S., so these times together are very special. We share more than our writing, and they’ve become some of the first people I contact during the highs and lows of life. I thank God for them every day. My best advice for making a close group of writer friends is just to get out there and start asking! My relationship with these ladies grew by leaps and bounds when I asked one if we could room together at ACFW, one to be my critique partner, and then I extended the invite to all three for our first retreat–and the rest is history!

  5. Excellent post! What you say is so true, and I’ve admired locales where I believed I could write to my heart’s content too. But you’re right, even we introverts need the motivation that other writers can provide. So happy to hear that the group in your life helps you and drives you to write more! :o)

  6. Thanks, Tamara. Encouragement I needed to hear. I’ve been edging toward the idea of a writing group and crit partner. It’s a big step!

    Questions can paralyze: Can I trust them? Will they keep confidentiality? Will we get along? Will I/they be good enough to help each other? What if it doesn’t work out? Who?

    There’s a possible multi-genre group forming out of a secular writers conference I attended. Should I join a group not specifically Christian? I guess I’ll try it.

  7. Cathy Baker says:

    Tamara, great post! I’m thankful for the writing friends that surround me. Most see this journey as a team member rather than a competitor, for which I’m very thankful.

  8. I have been part of unique and dedicated group of writers for almost four years. There are four of us and we share so much more than our writing. The relationships have moved from fellow writers to dear friends who can share anything with each other. (And we usually do.)
    The friendships don’t interfere with critiquing each other’s work. In fact, it enhances it. We are able to be direct, forthright and challenging because we’ve built the trust that allows us to urge each other to grow as writers.
    We call ourselves the Society of Solitary Scribes and we meet weekly.
    My words of encouragement to others looking for a such group are to pray for wisdom and discernment. Let the Lord direct you to the writing partners he wants you to have.
    Look around your existing community of writers. Our group grew from a larger organization. Going in, we knew each other and had a good idea of our strengths and weaknesses.
    Be clear about expectations. We established written guidelines for submitting and critiquing. We all committed to meeting weekly. The meeting has become a highlight of our week, a place to re-energize and to give and receive support for life, not just our writing.

  9. Tamara Fickas says:

    Angela,
    Welcome. I have to say that fellow Christian Fiction writers are a good bunch!

    Finding a good writer’s group can be hard if you don’t know any local writers. Years ago when I started writing, I joined ACFW and there is a local chapter in my city that meets once a month.

    Attending writer’s conferences are a good way to meet fellow writers. You might search the internet for any local conferences that you could attend. In fact, it was because I meet a gal at a conference in 2009 that lead me to the writers group I’ve been involved in for the last 4 years.

    I hope you find the right group for you. It may take some time, but it’s worth it.

    Tamara

  10. Tamara Fickas says:

    Elizabeth,

    It’s amazing how much more than just writing many writer’s groups share. I know my group is like that. Since our life fuels our writing, I guess it makes sense that life becomes an important part of the group.

    Tamara

  11. Tamara Fickas says:

    Gabrielle,

    I love the idea of a retreat. Our group is spread out over the country. SO far we’ve not been able to come together all at once for a retreat. Looking forward to the day we can make that happen :o)

  12. Tamara Fickas says:

    Ah Deb, I love that you’re part of the group that inspires and encourages me!

  13. Tamara Fickas says:

    Cristine,

    Definitely a little scary to open yourself to other writers. But definitely worth it when you find the right group.

    All the groups I’ve been in so far have been Christian, so I don’t have any direct experience with non-Christian groups. I wouldn’t rule it out without trying it first.

    Blessings in your search for the right group.

    Tamara

  14. Tamara Fickas says:

    Cathy,

    I am thankful that so many Christian writers are so willing to support each other and not see each other as competition.

    Love sharing my writing journey with you, my friend!

    Tamara

  15. Tamara Fickas says:

    Henry,

    Sounds like a great group. Thanks for giving your input on where and how to find a group. It takes some time but is definitely worth it!

    Tamara

  16. Love this article, Tammie. It’s true that encouragement from other writers can make all the difference during the rough patches. I love how you worded this article. Powerful and insightful.

  17. J Wallace says:

    You, re so right, being a writer can be lonely at times and it’s important to connect with other writers. Online writing groups are helpful but I perfer local writing groups where I can meet others face to face. .