Writers participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) may discover that friends and family aren’t entirely enthused by your decision to disappear into your computer for a month. (I have a secret suspicion that Chris Baty invented NaNo in order to escape those painful family Thanksgiving dinners.)
But at any time of year, some people in your life will find it difficult to relate to your passion to write. A few will even sabotage your progress, often subconsciously, but sometimes with the deliberate intent of steering you onto another path “for your own good.”
Kristen Lamb wrote on her blog this week about a minister of her church who told her she “had a better chance of being hit with lightning than becoming a published author.” And that she “needed to be an adult and pursue a ‘real’ career.”
What’s a new writer to do?
One thing that can help a lot is networking with other writers. That’s where blogging and social media can be helpful. Kristen’s “WANA tribe” (We Are Not Alone) is a community where writers can find mutual support. Another is Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Group, which he wrote about on this blog a couple of months ago.
Online or in-person, writers’ groups can be a godsend. I’m lucky enough to live in a town with a fantastic writing community called the SLO Nightwriters. It has members at all writing levels, from fledgling first-timers to New York Times bestsellers. National organizations with local chapters like RWA, SCBWI, and Sisters in Crime can also provide welcome support.
A good writing group will also save you from the mistake so many new writers make: asking friends or family members to read a work in progress.