With Valentine’s Day having just passed, I find myself thinking of the people who provide me with support and love. Writing is not necessarily the solitary act that I used to consider it to be. Instead, writing is influenced by many experiences and many people, though not all of them are positive. But this post is about those positive influences, so let me take a minute to thank the people who have provided me with support: my parents, who used to read my school papers and tell me what a good job I had done and who encourage me to write now; my husband, who encourages me to write every day, puts up with my daily imploring for affirmation, and who works hard so that I may spend half my days writing; my friend Lauren, who meets with me to write, talk, and dream; and my friend Phillip, who is willing to read my work and offer deep, meaningful, honest views on the work that I have done. I am also thankful for past supporters: my college mentor who first convinced me that I really am a good writer and who helped me get the medical support I needed by taking me to the university’s mental health clinic and following up with me after therapy sessions.
Supporters are the people who offer us time, encouragement, and resources. Who in your life supports you? Who wants to support you? For the people who want to offer you support and are unsure of how to do so, let them know what you need. Do you need someone to read your work and offer feedback? Do you need time to get away from the kids and write? Do you need a space where you can work without distraction? Do you need a new computer or funds to enroll in a class? Do you need someone with which to brainstorm?
And don’t forget: One of the best things you can do as a writer is to support your fellow writers. Remember to give as well as receive. Join a writing group and offer your time and energy to help review someone’s work. Buy your friend an cup of coffee and lend your ear when he or she is struggling with ideas or a bit of dialogue or plot. And don’t forget to thank those who love you and support you.