What’s the one thing that no one tells you about writing?
There are some things that people pretend they don’t talk about with regards to writing, but they do. It’s commonly known that writers make little money. It’s generally understood that we can spend an hour or more trying to decide about the placement of a comma. And I think it’s generally accepted that most of us are frequent victims of research potholes. To illustrate this final point, I should mention that last week I was trying to find out a little about demi-hunter pocket watches, and an hour later found myself on YouTube looking at videos of haunted furniture.
But the one thing that no one tells you is the importance of friends and colleagues.
I wrote a short story last week that made reference to a football team. I know so little about football it’s embarrassing. And yet, I was able to send the story off to a publisher because I had it read through by a good friend who knows all about football.
Earlier this year a good friend proofread a couple of my novels giving me advice and feedback and making me realise what I was trying to do with my writing. Another good friend who has incredible graphic design skills has been responsible for the covers on my latest titles. A friend and colleague reads through all of my academic writing (just in case I happen to drop an inappropriate joke in the middle of a solemn monograph). And my wonderful wife remains my harshest critic and most trusted editor.
I say all of this because the one thing that no one tells you about writing is the importance of friends. Friends who offer advice, support, proofreading, beta-reading, reviews or the occasional boost to the ego are essential for writers. And I thank my lucky stars that I’ve been blessed with incredibly good friends.