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Freelance Writers Need A Support System – Who Is In Yours?

writers need a support systemFreelance writers tend to be folks who are comfortable with long stretches of alone time. Even when we write in coffee shops we tend to do so with ear buds so we’re not distracted by people.

Which is fine, for the most part.

After all, writing requires our full attention if we’re to do it well. Although people have learned to write in noisy press rooms or even combat situations, having some real silence and a minimum of visual distractions can be hugely valuable.

Every now and again, however, we writers need a support system – a network of real people.

In fact, I think we need two kinds of support:

The most obvious is who will feed the cat while we’re on vacation or get the groceries if we’re laid up for one reason or another? Who can we call when the car stops running?

People we can call in an emergency or something close are an important part of our support system. Often they are family members or other people we’ve become close to through spiritual programs or in other ways.

The folks in our emergency support system may not know a thing about writing, and that’s just fine.

Writers also need, or at least I do, at least a few people who understand the creative process, with all its joys and frustrations.

Finding other creatives isn’t always straight forward. One of my closest friends who helps in emergencies and understands my writing I met in a 12 Step group of all things.

I’ve met other writers simply by saying hello when I spot someone writing in public. I quickly hand off my business card and once and awhile that person becomes part of my writing support system – a person I can call when I’m frustrated. I’ve also found them in classes I’ve taken and classes I’ve given.

Lori Widmer and I have not only become part of each other’s support system, but we’ve actually gone into business together forming About Writing Squared / 5 Buck Forum. We met online!

I also work with a Master Mind group. Although the members have changed since I wrote that article, the principles are exactly right.

What’s fascinating to me is that in every case, the people who I call on in emergencies, are the same ones who call me when they need help. This extends somewhat even to families.

The kind of support that means the most to me is mutual support – not the score-keeping kind, but the mutuality of true friendship.

Whose in your support system? 


Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by sicamp

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • With 23 other authors! You’re braver than I am!

  • Great post!

    Since I’ve been back in my home state, my family’s become my support system. But I’ve been ‘itching’ to move away, again, for the past year and a half.

    When I lived in Arizona, I found a pet sitting service to watch my cats when I traveled to NorCal and SoCal. I enjoyed and miss my writer’s groups. Arizona has a ton of groups to select for writers to ‘test’ out. I miss my writers group, and the feedback and support I received from other writers.

    Thankfully, I accepted an opportunity to co-author a book along with 23 other writers. We now have a FB group just for us where we vent, bounce ideas off of each other and support one another. It’s good to have that kind of support, again.
    Amandah recently posted..The Howard Stern Guide to Shocking the Shirts Off Your Readers (And Keeping Them Hooked)My Profile

  • Never heard of AWS! Obviously our marketing is lacking something! Yes, check it out… aboutwritignsquared.com

  • Doing what I can Anne. And would that forum be this AWS I’m reading about here? Never heard of them before, but I may check it out.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Blog Posting Frequency; Beating A Dead Horse?My Profile

  • Sounds like a good support system, Aparajita.

  • Aparajita

    Hi Anne. I’m here after a long time… I don’t know if you even remember me. I’ve taken a break from freelance writing- right now, I’m concentrating on getting a college degree and have dedicated myself to academics. But yes, I used to write and make a little money at one point of time, and this forum used to be a great support system. I wouldn’t comment much, I wouldn’t make my presence felt, but I used to read all the posts and the comments and they were really helpful. Offline, I have my mother and two friends. My mother doesn’t write at all, my friends write very little. But they all understand me and my work in a way that’s very beautiful. I’m so thankful I have them in my life.

  • Mitch, have I got a forum for you! Seriously, take care of yourself.

  • Hi Barbara… it can be hard or seem hard to carve out support time… I find it a necessity actually.

  • Glad you like the forum, Cathy, we’re delighted you’re there.

  • Always About Freelance Writing…Offline I have a very dear friend of 20 plus years who, although is not a writer, holds me accountable to my purpose and passion. My children always there with “tech” support, so I’m good.:)
    Clara Freeman recently posted..Why Entering Contests Can Be “Fierce” For Your BusinessMy Profile

  • love having you there too, Sharon.

  • blushing Wade, and thanks.

  • I hate saying this but I have no support system at all. Well, that’s not quite accurate. I don’t have a support system for writing, but then most of the writing I’ve been doing lately is for myself, so I’m not bringing in as much money that way. For my main business I do have one supporter, and unfortunately it’s not my wife, which doesn’t help.

    Still, I tell myself that both success and support are just around the corner.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..5 Reasons You Have To Deal With Spam On Your Business BlogMy Profile

  • I LOVE this post. Writer’s definitely don’t let themselves have enough “support-time”. Thanks!
    Barbara recently posted..Photo Friday: Sundial BridgeMy Profile

  • It’s obvious there’s a whole lot of supporting going on at the AWS Forum. 😀 I’m with Sharon, I wasn’t one to hang out at forums and now my biggest problem is keeping me out of AWS. You can tell that be the *ahem* rather embarrassing distinction of having the most posts. Hello? Distraction? But, of the nicest variety.

    My younger sister is a great support. She’s not a writer, although she could be, but she and I have always been on the same wave length. My mom is a good mental health support although she can cause a few business distractions. 🙂 But, I love her.

    Definitely, my online writing buddies have saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Online Writing Tricks to Use in Targeting C-SuiteMy Profile

  • I’ve got my sister, who’s a copywriter; my writing BFF Dana and AWS – a girl couldn’t ask for more support! Love, love, love the forum – I’ve never stuck around a forum so long before and I really enjoy being there.
    Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..Typing Too Much? Tips on Dealing with Carpal Tunnel and RSIMy Profile

  • I will attest to AWS being a great support system. You and Lori have developed a forum where people genuinely care. I hope to see it grow and remain this way. Thanks Anne and Lori.
    Wade Finnegan recently posted..Friends and Business MixMy Profile

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