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Writing Allies and Enemies

Our dreams are delicate, fragile as hummingbird's eggs. Which means we have to be extra careful to reveal them only to those who will be gentle.

When we share our dreams with those who encourage, who lead us to other knowledge sources, and respect the time (and often money) put into the quest, they help to bolster us through long waits and disappointments. They maintain the vision even when it falters for us. If we're lucky, these writing allies may include a spouse, close friend, or family member, but often, writers find that those who understand best are their fellow writers... or some of them, at least.

When we share our dreams with those who scoff, they infect us with their knowing looks and lectures (for our own good!) about the odds stacked up against us. They speak to us of back-up plans or safety nets. They treat the dream as trivial by interrupting and monopolizing work times or by resenting time and money spent in our pursuit. Sometimes, the discouragement is well-meant, to protect us from disappointment. Other times, it's selfish, borne of jealousy or selfishness. Even so, these unsupportive types are not necessarily bad people, but they are definitely natural enemies of the dream.

So think about the choices you make when you choose to share your aspirations. If you find a certain friend (or spouse, relative, or co-worker) negative or distracting, quit talking about your writing around that person. Save your hopes, your plans, and most especially, your whiny moments (and hey, we all have 'em) for the people who will lift you up and keep you going.

When you finally win that contest, sign with that agent, sell that project, or win that award, there'll be time enough to share it with the naysayers.

Just don't expect them to be founts of unconflicted happiness. Sometimes, human nature is a bear.


Jolie Mathis said…

As Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that."
Glad you stopped by, Jolie!
Joni Rodgers said…
You're so right. Eight years ago my agent placed my third book with my first big publisher. Next morning, I ran out to meet my daily race-walking buddy.

"Harper Collins bought my book!" I shrilled.

"That's great," she said. "Is he an agent?"

On the flip side, my mom was an editor and book critic at my hometown newspaper. And since her retirement, she's written a book. We've agreed to support eachother without advice or "constructive criticism" -- which is an oxymoron like "casual sex" or "conventional wisdom".

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