They doubt themselves and their talents, and have days when they feel like giving up. Many of them don’t work a steady 9-5 job and can be found wearing strange clothes with mad hair, and even the ones who DO work a steady 9-5 job and have nicely-ironed clothes and lovely neat hair still have moments when they may appear weeping and shouting I HATE WRITING, I CAN’T DOOOO THIS!
All this, we’re afraid to say, is completely normal writing behaviour.
Here’s how to support your writer as they go through the process of getting published.
1. Always have snacks to hand
Much like toddlers and pets, a hysterical writer can often be distracted and calmed by a reassuring word and an edible treat.
2. Don’t give advice unless they ask for it
Chapter four might well be rubbish, and you might have good ideas for how to improve it. But, unless you’re specifically asked, keep the criticism to yourself. And if they do ask, be very diplomatic and gentle…
3. Be calm and patient
Understand that when your writer is frantically googling How To Find A Literary Agent, tearing up his/her fifteenth rejection or staring fixedly into the distance, it doesn’t mean they have gone mad. They’re just being writers. Make a cup of tea and let them be.
4. Don’t interrupt
When your writer finally switches off Twitter, stops staring into space and starts writing, let it happen. In the rare times when the work is going well, even the most beloved person in the world won’t be welcome for a chat. Just wait it out. They’ll come out for a tea break soon … trust us.
5. Don’t suggest giving up
It might seem, after piles of rejections, buckets of tears, and mutliple redrafts, that the whole process is just too soul-destroying and your writer should give up and focus on a simpler, more rewarding hobby, like alpaca farming, or neurosurgery. But try not to say that. If in doubt, we suggest a big hug and the mantra ‘Never, ever, ever give up’.
The Lighthouse is here to help
The Lighthouse is staffed by experienced editors who are also published writers, so we know exactly what you are going through. We’re here to help you perfect your manuscript, synopsis and query letter. Check out our services and FAQs for more information.