Since I’ve begun writing I’ve realised that we accrue a set of supporters, sometimes in unexpected guises. Unfortunately we also have to deal with opponents. In life there must always be a balance, eh?
Both can help and hinder us, sometimes in the most unlikely of ways. When we know who the heroes and villains are in our writing story, then we get to go all superhero and join the winning crew.
Now go grab your sparkly tights, put your underpants on over them, give a toothpaste commercial type smile, and get your ‘Kapow’ on.
The Heroes: Your Partner or Spouse
Our long-suffering other halves head up the team of heroes. At least I hope that they do for you. I have heard how they can be villains in not supporting their beloved writer.
I couldn’t write without the super powers of The Husband. He is the one that got me writing in the first place. He believed in me as a writer long before I ever did.
Our partners and spouses put up with a lot from writers. They often get neglected when our heads are so full of ideas that we don’t have the mental capacity to partake in conversation.
We wake them up in the middle of the night when ideas strike.
They endure boring day trips and holidays to the homes of long-deceased authors so that we can absorb the author vibes.
We insist that they read everything that we write and then put them under the spotlight as they give their feedback.
The fact that The Husband hasn’t divorced me or smothered me in my sleep, makes him a freaking hero in my eyes.
The Heroes: the Best Friend
Where would we be without our besties? Probably not in a cell way back in 2005 after that drunken night but we forgive them, right?
Best friends have often been in our lives longer than anyone else apart from our family. This means that they know everything. Most of it will be embarrassing too. We have to put them into the hero camp if only because it will stop them from dishing the dirt to the tabloids when we become famous authors.
My best friend is brilliant. She has supported me through a lot and I know she still has my back, as I will always have hers.
She believes in me as a writer and I know that I am guaranteed at least one sale of every book I publish because of her. She will even be honest and tell me if it wasn’t her cup of tea. Woe betide anyone else who says it in her presence. She’s a fierce one when protecting her pack.
Don’t tell her my book is crap. She bases her life upon Wonder Woman. That’s because she is an absolute wonder, arse kicking and all.
The Heroes: Some Writers
I love the part of the writing community where the cream rises to the top and the lovely, supportive writers make themselves known.
Since I started writing I have built a small but comforting band of fellow bloggers and writers that I love to support, as they do with me.
I look out for their work, their posts and their books. I know they seek out mine too.
I often thought that a bunch of creatives was potentially a bitch fight waiting to happen. Sometimes it is (see the Villains section). Thankfully a lot of the time it’s full of advice, tips, sharing, engaging, and cheering each other on.
There’s no jealousy and we love to see each other succeed, even when we feel like we are failing, because we know they are looking after us too.
The Villains: Some Writers
This unfortunately brings me to the Villains section and how some writers fit into this area. Some writers are just itching to bring other writers down. I say this with proof of the stinging attacks.
I have been trolled by writers on my blog. You’ll never see the comments because I won’t give them the publicity.
I have had vile comments made to me on Facebook on my page and in writers’ groups too.
I used to get hurt that another writer would spend valuable writing time calling me names, telling me that I cannot write, and tear apart my work. Then I realised that this seems to be the only way they spend their writing time.
They are keyboard warriors, and probably failed or frustrated writers whose only writing output is the castigation of other writers. Hatred simmers in every word they strike upon the keyboard. They are the masters of doom.
I feel sorry for them. I pity them in that they will never know that the true power of writing lays in building up, not destruction. We are creators after all, not destroyers.
The Villains: Some Friends and Family
Let’s begin by being clear that some friends and family are wonderfully encouraging, some of mine included. I’m adding this before I find my Facebook page barren of friends.
The sad truth though is that often writers do not get much support from their loved ones. It’s a rite of passage every newbie writer must go through.
We think that because people gave birth to us, went to school with us, are married to us, or shared bunk beds with us, that they will automatically sign up for our cheerleading squad.
It just doesn’t work like that. It’s often a mystery to us and it feels like they’re both heroes and villains at the same time.
It really hurts when you’re starting out and hardly any of your friends read your blog, follow your Facebook page, or buy your book.
You wonder why they claim to love or care about you but not with this huge thing that you’re doing.
You contemplate kicking them out of your life. Before you do though, consider this…
Your family and friends have their own tastes and interests.
You cannot expect your readophobe friend to suddenly become a book worm because you’ve published your first novel.
Your romance-loving gran is going to find it hard to read your gory horror novel if she cannot even watch ‘Casualty’ because there might be a trickle of blood.
The girl you went to school with, who is only friends with you on Facebook because she’s nosey and loves telling the other bitches you went to school with how fat you’ve got, is not going to follow your Facebook page. You’re not providing gossip fodder there. Although expect her to become your new best friend the second your novel is acclaimed worldwide.
It’s true that the most steadfast of family and friends will read your blog posts and books. They will tell everyone to buy your novel but these are the special few.
Value them. Elevate them on to the superhero podium and leave the others to their own devices. We all know villains never win in the end anyway. Not remotely bitter. Not me.
The Villains: You
It’s true. You can be the most dastardly and despicable of villains when it comes to your writing.
It’s also true that you can be a hero too, championing your efforts, promoting yourself, slogging it out, and cobbling together some great sentences.
We have alter egos. There’s the hero Marvel Writer and then we have the Doom Cookie or DC (the geeks will see what I did there).
DC has the power to create dark clouds that descend over them everywhere they walk. They shoot darts of self-criticism from their mouths when asked how their writing is going, and can burn holes into your soul with their laser eyes that have analysed too many drafts.
The DC’s mission is to kill the writer and their writing. They can freeze fingers and brains simultaneously. Electric currents of fear and self-doubt ripple through their bodies and render them paralysed.
DCs are shit villains because they can only destroy themselves. They haven’t got the knack of using their evil powers on others, although troll writers will have a go.
DCs are easily defeated by Marvels. Marvels are confident in their ability to have a go. They can make themselves invisible when writing and go undetected by others in the room.
Marvels have one super power to defeat all others; they believe in themselves. They are not cocky or arrogant. They know they won’t always get it right first time but they’ll keep trying. They quash DCs every time they sit down to revise and edit.
Let the Marvel in you win today.
Now go fly, leap over tall buildings, and kick some writing butt. Make sure your underpants are firmly in place over your tights though.