Supporting Characters

IMG_6415A full audience for the launch of Restless Minds

I’ve picked up my activities on Twitter lately, and have had the good fortune to ‘meet’ and get to know many wonderful writers. Of course following more people means being able to get a glimpse into their conversations, and one topic keeps on cropping up: support.

Now, I am very lucky. I don’t think it’s right to bluff over my privilege, so I won’t bother: I do not have a full time job. I used to, but stopped when I had my son. It was whilst I was pregnant that The Mr and I talked about me writing as close to full time as I realistically could, and that’s what happened. My mother has J two and a half days a week, and The Mr works Continental Shifts, so I get time in the week to settle at my desk.

My family have always been supportive of my writing (especially my dad, who has a special ‘serious’ expression he puts on when asking me about it). But, as I said, I am lucky.

When I asked on Twitter for people’s comments on the support they did or did not get, these were some of the responses:

Down to the winning tweets:

What Joanna Barnard really nails here is ‘take an interest because it’s important to me‘. And notice she says ‘take an interest’. Not ‘read my book’. Not ‘give me a room of my own’. Not even ‘give me time’. Just take an interest.

What really struck me in all of this was how support can and has to come in many forms. It can be the gift of time, a space for your desk, reading your synopses, retweeting you, coming to your launches and readings, buying your publications, or just asking how things are going.

Personally, the attending of readings and the buying of publications are where my friends (not so much my family) tend to fall down. I’m blessed that two of my very good friends are writers themselves (see my earlier post on workshopping), but even those who aren’t do show an interest when they see me – it’s just getting them to read or listen to something that’s not happening right now. I get that you don’t necessarily want to buy an anthology where you’re only interested in one of the authors. I know writing Goodreads / Amazon reviews takes time and effort. And I do see that to drive half an hour into the city to come to a reading means you’ll have to find your shoes…

But these are just nigglings. Because it’s the interest shown that I value the most. It does so much for a writer’s self-belief and self-esteem just to know that they have your support. I’m counting my blessings.

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