Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Writing 101: No Writer is an Island

When I was very young, and dreaming of becoming a writer, I had a vision in my head of what it would be like. I would sit in a very quiet and serene room, all by myself, just creating brilliant words all day long. Now I know that sort of thing isn't possible -- and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want it if it was. If you're self-publishing, you're doing a whole lot of work all on your own...but you probably aren't actually alone. Sometimes, it's hard to remember that the people around you are always contributing, too.

Hey, There Are Other People Here

Plenty of self-published authors don't live alone. They may have pets, or kids, spouses or roommates. All of these animals and people are capable of affecting the way you write your book. The people closest to writers are usually a big influence; certain characteristics from your mate may seep into the characters you put on the page. But they influence and affect you in other ways, too, and their contributions can't be overlooked. 
  • Space
The people who share your space with you make a difference, both good and bad. Make sure they understand that you need your own space to work and write, and really shouldn't be disturbed. And tell them how much they mean to you, from time to time. When the people closest to you are supportive of your efforts, you'll feel a lot less stressed about self-publishing.
  • Time
You need your friends and family members to give you the space to write, and that means you've got to give them something, too. Don't forget to make time for the other members of your household and others who are close to you. Do not spend all of your free time writing, though it is compelling to do so. Make time to maintain a social life, or at least something like it, and always take some time just for yourself while you're at it. Everyone has to recharge and reset, and you cannot think about writing all of the time. You'll burn yourself out, and make yourself nuts. 
  • Sharing
The people in your immediate household are your best sounding board. Ask them to read your work, bounce ideas off of them, get their input and their help. They're going to be much more gentle with you than any reviewer, and they're a wonderful first test for any ideas you have. If you're thinking of something that sounds really out-of-the-box, check it against those close to you and see how they react. 

There are other people in your life, and they can tell you that living with a writer isn't easy. Talk to them to let them know your needs, but don't forget to ask about their needs as well. Use them, appreciate them and get support from them. Your writing will be better for it, and your relationships will be a little less strained when you're slaving away at the keyboard.

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