…it’s a divider of people. I’ll explain. When I say I’m a writer, I find people fall into three categories:
- The person who changes the topic of conversation in order to escape from a subject that either disinterests them or is so alien to their world they haven’t the vaguest idea how to even appear interested. (Of course, this may also be because you have previously regaled them about your writing at length and they are simply trying to get out of the conversation alive)
- The person who loves you but has zero interest in writing, your current project, your minor character’s plot hole, your latest submission woes or the bookselling market in general; these people try, they really do. They ask the questions, but you can see the pain behind their eyes as you reply. So because you love them back, you try to keep your replies to the minimum (no more than the briefest of plot overviews, character profiles and the headlines from the sub trenches)
- Then there’s the person who when you utter the word ‘writer’ comes to life. They smile, they lean forward to catch what you’re saying, ask relevant, insightful questions ‘so when Doris does finally get to chapter 9, what then, does she risk everything?’ These connections are in the minority, and when you do come across a kindred spirit, the conversation can last for years.
As a writer, you’ll have all three sorts of people in your life and that’s fine – you need new material after all. But that third group; that’s your tribe. The people, who may or may not be writers themselves, but are invested in your journey and feel inspired by someone following a crazy dream. Whatever the reason, these are the ones who will lift you up when you are down, will cheer you on and understand how sweet success is, should it appear. And with any luck, you’ll be able to do the same for them.