Do you have a writer in your life? Whether it’s your sister, partner, grandpa, or friend, there are plenty of ways to show them that you care beyond gifts and evenings out (although those are good too). Here are five ways to show your love to a writer.
Ask but don’t ask too much
Checking in on how your writerly loved-one is progressing with their book or poetry is wonderful. It shows that you care, that you listen, and that you know what is important to them. It might even provide a much-needed break from the page or screen. But asking too many times can make a writer nervous. I’ll tell you why.
Some writers can polish off a draft – first or otherwise – in a month or less. Blimey! Most of us, however, take longer, maybe even much much longer. Writing can also be a stop-start process, with days when we don’t create anything. We do plenty of thinking, but little writing.
If you ask your writer how their book is coming along too often, they may feel under pressure or that they have to lie. Worse still, they may become demoralised by what they see as a lack of progress and lose the will to write.
So ask by all means, but don’t ask too much.
Understand that a writer’s mind needs time to create
Even those fast-drafters that I mentioned above take time to think before they put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Writers generally spend a fair chunk of time musing over elements of their story. You might catch them staring out of the window, fingers poised over the keyboard, or head down while they walk the dog in silence. Other musing scenarios include:
- driving the car, especially if alone
- taking a bath or shower
- just before nodding off on a night-time
- school run
- gardening, especially mowing the lawn
A writer may have the most detailed of chapter plans written down and ready to fulfil but more often than not, we need time to infuse our imaginations with the story, envision people and places, and choreograph scenes. We need to deep-dive into that imaginary world and breathe it in.
Don’t expect our story explanation to make sense
You’ll find plenty of memes on social media that portray the difference between the majestic world of a writer’s imagination and the sketchy version they later put down on paper. It’s just the same when we try to explain our story to someone.
In our mind, we’ve populated the world of our story, created a fabulous plot-line, choreographed the action scenes and… Well, you know what I mean. But when someone asks what our book is about and we try to explain, what we say sounds lame or convoluted, or both. This might be down to a sudden lack of confidence in our story or being put on the spot. Either way, we don’t express the absolute genius of our literary creation at all.
So if you ask us what our story is about, be prepared to be left none the wiser.
Read our books and leave kind words
Well, yes, this goes without saying really, but I’m saying it none the less. If you love a writer, buy their book, read it, and leave a book review. Even if it’s not your genre, give it a try.
After all, your writerly loved-one has put a lot of soul-baring effort into that creation, so show them you understand and don’t forget to express your pride in their accomplishment.
A cup of tea and a plate of biscuits
Sometimes, all it takes is a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits to show how much you care. Remember that deep-dive I mentioned? As writers, we can become so intent on soaking in our story and getting the words out of our head and onto the page, that we forget about everything else – including taking care of ourselves.
Or it might be that we’re tackling a difficult scene or revising our story after feedback from our editor or publisher. Whatever the scenario, we’re head down, brows furrowed, and possibly muttering away to ourselves. After all, world-building is a mind-boggling process.
Avoid facing the writer-in-full-steam scowl by simply providing us with a little sustenance and then backing away. We may not express our appreciation at the time but honestly, you will be in our best best books later when we surface from the imaginarium.
Photo by Theo Crazzolara on Unsplash