Writer friends are special human beings. Let’s all take a moment to think about writer friends.
Writer friends understand your creative side, share your writing passion and know all about the emotional turmoil that goes hand in hand with writing a book. You share work regardless of quality / state, give each other feedback and are happy to talk writing for HOURS.
This shared understanding forges a deep bond between you both, especially if you have felt misunderstood by non-writers for years. Suddenly you have someone who gets the creative side of you! This is powerful friendship stuff.
So when your beloved writing friend decides that writing is not for them anymore it can be pretty painful for both of you. Your creative sidekick is no longer there, as they are busy finding some other life path to follow and you are left clutching your notepad and pen feeling a little bit teary.
I experienced this a few years ago when a close friend of mine quit writing and it was a strange time. It felt like a huge hole had opened up in my creative life. I didn’t think I would be able to find someone to natter about writing with and I didn’t think writing would be enjoyable without her.
If you are like me, here is what can happen next, after your writer friend announces that they are quitting:
- It feels like dark clouds have covered up the sun in your writing world.
- You find yourself doubting your own creative talents.
- This is made hundred times worse when you come to the conclusion that your writer friend is the better writer out of the two of you. If they are giving up writing – shouldn’t you? If they can’t make it in the writing world – how can you do any better?
- You find yourself viewing your writing journey through their eyes. They might be angry or hurt with the writing world, beaten down by rejections etc. So after hours of heart to heart conversations with them on this you soon find yourself adopting the same negative attitude.
- You consider quitting too.
- You worry that you won’t make new writer friends and if you do they won’t give you the same sort of feedback your writer friend gave you.
Here are some tips on how to stay positive and focused on your own writing journey, during this emotional time:
- Accept that your writer friend is in a different place to you. Writers can tire of the creative struggle and look for other sources of happiness. It happens. Being a writer is, at times, torturous and sometimes the easiest thing to do is walk away. You have to accept that you are in a different place to your writing friend.
- Remind yourself of your own writing journey and your own creative goals. Don’t lose sight of them. You are still a writer.
- Remind yourself of the last time you felt good about your writing.
- Watch out for those negative thoughts creeping in. Try to stop comparing yourself to your writer friend. No two writers are the same!
- If your friend is a true writer they will be back. It may take weeks, months or years but as my good friend Candice Coates says ‘true writers cannot turn that light off!’
- Strengthen your writer network by reaching out and making new writer and blogging friends. Social media is great for this. Start joining some writer conversations on Twitter or Facebook.
- New writer friends bring a fresh perspective, which can be scary, but on the flip side think how useful this could be when getting feedback.
- Accept that you will face writing struggles during your literary journey and you will deal with these in your own way – when they present themselves.
- Be happy for your friend. They might have been troubled for a while about writing and this decision to quit could have lifted a huge weight from their shoulders.
My experience was tough but it forced me to concentrate on my own writing dreams and to forge other friendship bonds.