Writer Friends with Jaycee Clark

April 25, 2016

I signed up for the blog months ago and worried and wondered about what to write on specifically. I could talk about the importance of advertising in the current market, blogging, knowing your market and what you’re writing, or how to better manage writing time because that’s a weak point for me.  Staying healthy as a writer.  Recipes for writers, though not really healthy ones because I’d rather have cupcakes—with sprinkles. Always sprinkles.

Instead I decided on something else.

This group is Romance Authors Marketing Network.  Networking is important. It is.  I will not dispute that. However, I think, sometimes, we often forget or overlook the importance of writer friends.

Oh sure, we all have them. If we’re lucky.  Networking is one thing. Someone you can contact to help promote your book, talk into doing a joint writing project, or a joint ad.  Those are and should always be appreciated; they’re valuable and helpful for the furthering of both careers. Networking, writers, industry peeps. Friendly acquaintances should always be respected.  I’m not talking about them in this post.

No, I’m talking about writing buddies/friends/bffs.

Writer friends are their own special gems hands down.

Writer friends get you. How are they different from your normal friends? Well, sometimes they just are. Maybe you’re blessed with those in your life seriously understanding all the ins and outs of a writer’s life. If so, kudos to you. You’re lucky. My family sort of gets me, but sometimes (often?) I leave them baffled. Your life-long friends, your spouse, your best friend, they get you too. They do.  They understand insomnia or kids, or health issues with parents. Yes. They get why you do the crazy and stupid shit that you do—most of the time.  We all have a buddy we can call at two in the morning to bail us out of jail, or cry on their shoulder because life has gone to hell.

But how many of us have a writing buddy we can call, or tag on messenger, or text at two in the morning with the same? Or with things like: What’s the most elegant way to kill a person?  And have them pick up seamlessly into the brainstorming and not think you’re weird at all?  How many of your closest friends or family can you call at whatever time of day or night and debate whether overdosing victims on some rare drug or putting them on ice is a more villainous act? Writer friends don’t see you as weird or quirky, or even psychopathic (thank goodness), but more as normal. It’s all perspective anyway, but it’s nice to not get baffled looks (or sighs since writer buddies tend to not share residences and are on phones more often than not).  Finding your own crazy tribesmen—women is wonderful.

Plotting and brainstorming are integral parts of the writing process, as we all know.  And as is the case, this is a very introverted profession (thankfully!).  Trust me, you don’t want to ask the cashier at the grocery store the best way to kill a person with spices or cooking implements.  Though wouldn’t that be an awesome way to spread a bit of surrealism? Anyway, we know our stories; our editors and agents get the polished versions.  Which, I’m certain they appreciate.  But how often do we get stuck?  Me? All too damned often. Sometimes going for a walk helps.  Showers often do the trick as well. And so does brushing my teeth, though what minty-fresh does to help unlock the creative gates, I’ve yet to figure out.  We’ve all got our little tricks to help get past a stuck point, the wall, or dreaded writer’s block. Often stepping away helps, others just plow on through or write the next scene and figure they’ll go back and fix things during edits. These all work. However, sometimes, some points, some plots get so tangled and convoluted you need to talk to someone. It’s like therapy for your characters, but without the Lexapro.

I’ve got a few writer buddies that I consider wonderful friends. Two I would trust with my children.  This is huge. I might trust you with me, and with my books, characters and ideas, but my children are another matter all together.  I’ve known these friends for years and greatly respect all they’ve done with all aspects of their lives and careers.  They are amazing women and kick ass writers.

Writing buddies, not only get you at writing and all the crazy this career entails, but get you in life, some of the times, and knock some sense in you the other part of the time.  These jewels in our lives, help us out and keep us on track with characters, with plot, with twists and schemes, business and sometimes life.

We are the creators of our stories, yes, but if we’re lucky, we’ve had help. Help which figured out that perhaps killing off characters with poison was slightly more elegant than some weird pseudo stabbing with a melting icepick.  Or that hiding a body in the woods was so over done.  Writer besties tell you when your idea is seriously craptastically stupid and do not apologize for it, nor do you expect or want them to.  Instead you can ask why and they’ll honestly tell you. Or just be brutal and tell you stay away from any ideas involving were elephants eating vampiric llamas.

These people become intricate not just in writing, business life, but life in general. You know each other’s children. You know things the other likes and battles they’ve fought.  You’re there for each other no matter the time of day or night.  It doesn’t matter.  Because somewhere along the way you became more than co-workers, more than someone you met in a chat room or forum or author group. By some fate or luck,  you became friends.  Friends who get each other and who get the weirdness, the ‘don’t call me unless someone’s dying because I’m in deadline-hellness’, or are there just for life.  These wonderful people in our lives help and are there for the journey we’re all on. And if you’re really, really lucky, these are friends you’ll have for years to come.

Never ever take them for granted.  Because tomorrow isn’t promised and that next book idea might be truly horrible and you need a friend who will say, “WTF are you thinking? Your readers will kill you! Oh! And how’s your mom/spouse/child?”  Yeah, those are great friends.  If you don’t have at least one of these wonderful people in your life, I’d suggest you try and find one. Join a writer’s group or forum, go to a conference, take a deep breath and a chance. Pretend you’re an extrovert! You never know whom you will meet or how important they can become in your life.

These gems in a writer’s life are priceless.

Sidney Bristol

About the Author

Sidney Bristol

It can never be said that NYT & USA Today Bestselling author Sidney Bristol has had a ‘normal’ life. She is a recovering roller derby queen, former missionary, and tattoo addict. She grew up in a motor-home on the US highways (with an occasional jaunt into Canada and Mexico), traveling the rodeo circuit with her parents. Sidney has lived abroad in both Russia and Thailand, working with children and teenagers. She now lives in Texas where she splits her time between a job she loves, writing, reading and fostering cats.

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