Support System

When you’re at this age, and especially in the current climate of this crazy world we’re living in right now, it’s easy to get discouraged. With that in mind, I can’t stress enough how important it is to find and have a support system as you struggle to establish yourself in the literary world. Even if it’s just emotional support from friends, or the feedback support of a writers’ group, it’s essential for your mental well-being.

Yes, the writing life is a solo one, but that’s exactly the point. Even the most reclusive of we writers can get mighty lonely.

At a recent writers’ conference I attended in Connecticut (staying in a budget hotel), Patricia Schultz, writer of1,000 Places to See Before You Die, et al., was there as a keynote speaker, and one of her points about her own success was how she managed to get through it with the support system of her parents. You might consider her lucky to have had that, since I can guess that at least a few of you might have parents who aren’t exactly thrilled that you’ve chosen a writing life as an eventual career path (unless you’ve got a decent day job in the meantime, but sometimes even then it’s not enough). But they’re main support foundation was that she do what she loves. If you love write, and you can’t imagine living without doing it, then follow it. Obviously you keep in mind the day job to pay those bills, as I’ve said before, but at the same time, go for the gold with your pen.

But times are going to get tough for you. You’re going to get rejections, and you’re going to get editors and agents who tell you no usually by not telling you anything at all, because they just don’t have the time to devote a rejection letter to every single query letter they receive: they’d much rather concentrate on the clients they’ve brought on board or aregoingto bring on board, which is more than fair.

So, to get through that painful period, however long it may be, it won’t seem quite so painful and long if you have someone who can be there for you, who can either critique your work (make sure you find a good impartial judge), or someone just to have a drink with when you’re feeling low about yet another rejection, be sure you’ve got a fan club or a bounce-back of some sort. If you can’t stay on top of this because you’re weren’t willing to open up or let someone be a guide, you’re going to have a much tougher time of this.

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