‘Tis the season to give and show gratitude, and for those of you with a writer in your life, now is the perfect time to make an extra effort to bring them joy. Writers and creative people tend to lead isolated lives and they are easy to overlook. They are quiet and spend their free time typing or painting or welding away at their latest creation.
While a writer can feel great satisfaction in working and completing a project, there is only so much satisfaction one can feel all by themselves. It takes the proverbial village to bring them true and lasting joy.
Here are five things that you can do for the writer in your life –
1. Be a reader. Although it seems a bit obvious, writers love and appreciate those who love to read. Think about it. Imagine you are a world class chef and your specialty is cooking sublime and delicate fish dishes. If a patron comes to your restaurant and declares that they hate fish, you would feel rejected and have a hard time truly liking that person. Writers love to talk about books and stories and crave someone who can do the same.
2. Buy their books. With eBooks and so much content on the internet that’s free, people are reluctant to spend cash on books – or they want to only spend .99 cents. It doesn’t make sense. For the price of a fancy drink at Starbucks you could have supported a friend. A drink will last minutes and give brief refreshment and enjoyment. Reading a book brings hours of entertainment and can reread or passed along.
3. Write good reviews. When I say good, I don’t mean that every word has to be gushing and glowing (although those are nice). A good review is fair, polite, and honest. Getting real reviews is tough. Everyday I hear stories of authors intentionally sabotaging other author’s books by leaving scathing reviews. It’s wrong and it hurts people. If you feel a book was worth your time, gave you insight, made you think, made you smile, made you feel, then that book deserves a good review.
4. Be a good listener. Often writers are full and overflowing with ideas and questions about the story they are working on or about the book they are reading. Let them talk without changing the subject. Ask questions that make it sound like you are paying attention and are interested. Give suggestions and advice with extreme caution, they usually aren’t asking you for your help with the story. Discussing booky things helps them unravel tangled ideas and paves the way to even better writing.
5. Give them time to work. Writing takes time – lots of it, oodles of it. I estimate each page of anything I’ve worked on has taken between one to three hours to complete and countless hours floating around in my head growing and taking shape. A thirty page story would take anywhere between 30-90 hours to complete. When writing is a full-time job this isn’t a huge problem because it is understood that those daytime and evening hours are being used for writing. However, when writing is a hobby and those hours are harder to come by, even the shortest of stories can take weeks or even months. This is frustrating in the extreme for writers who have a story that is burning to come out. One of the nicest things you can do is arrange things so that your writer has a few undisturbed hours to work.
Thank you for reading, now go and make a writer happy!