Photo by Ben White, Unsplash.com.
Writers are quite antisocial. They are uninterested in other people and you won’t spot them on parties or other social events. What to do if you want to make friends with one or even worse – want something more? Take a look at this surefire cheatsheet. You’re welcome! Feel free to get me a coffee !
- Realize that writing is sacred for them. Respect their writing hours and don’t be upset if they choose to spend an evening in front of a computer rather than hang out with you. Don’t be clingy! Especially in the beginning, when they don’t know you well. It’s better to approach a writer gradually rather then impose your presence on them (especially when they want to write). Also, don’t interrupt or change the topic if you see that they want to talk about writing. Writing is like a religion for them. You must accept it if you want to get closer.
- Always support them and root for them. Don’t ever tell them to ‘get realistic’. They have already heard that too many times and they don’t need to hear it again! Always take your writing friend’s journey seriously, encourage and motivate them. And, most of all, don’t let them give up.
- Ask them questions you know they can answer with more than just a yes or no. For example: how they created a character, what books they are planning to write, how was writing their first book like, how they are feeling about publishers, what annoys them about book markets, what authors inspire them, etc. Be sure to add “how’s your writing going?” to your usual “hey, howdy?”. Obviously, you are welcome to talk about anything else, but most writers spend their time writing. If you ask them about writing, you just can’t get it wrong.
- Put their book on the top of your reading list. This will show your writing friend how important their books (& they) are to you. Real life story: I once asked a close friend to read my book and heard the following reply: “Maybe later. I have a lot of books on the list already, sorry”. It made me feel like she didn’t care neither about me nor about my work. And I didn’t think of her as of a close friend anymore. Think what’s more important to you: your writing friend or your book list?
PS: It’s ok to say no and keep the order of your reading list but books don’t run away while writing friends do.
- Really read their book. What’s the easiest way to break a writer’s trust? Offer you’ll read and review their book, get a free copy and then leave them hanging! If they ask you about it (they surely will), tell them you’ve been too busy and will probably continue to be busy until the end of this year (and next year probably, too!). Oh, and at the same time keep posting photos from crazy parties and road trips you’ve been to. Really, if you want to make a writer develop some basic trust in you, you must read their book. There’s no going around. Sorry.
- Write them positive reviews. Writers, especially beginning writers, are in need of reviews. But not just any reviews. Positive reviews. If you didn’t like their book, do them a favor: tell them that it wasn’t really your style and then, stay silent about this disgrace. Don’t trash talk your writing friend in front of others or on forums. Instead, tell them face to face what they need to improve – be respectful and polite.
- Do an active effort to promote their work. It helps them gather exposure, and exposure means better book sales, more reviews, greater audience. Sharing posts on social media or putting small ad banners on your webpage doesn’t cost you anything, while it helps your friends. If they ask you to do something for them (read a chapter, sign up for a newsletter, like a post) – do it. Don’t turn your back on them when they need you.
Keep in mind that there are only benefits of being friends with writers. A grateful writer is a faithful friend. They’ll give you free books, pay for your coffees and movie tickets, and try to support you any way they can. Oh, and they’ll probably make you immortal one day. Don’t ever ask about it – it’s a given priviledge.