Allow me to type out a conversation between my mother and I after she read the first few chapters of my first book.
Me: So, what did you think?
Her: It was good.
Me: Just good?
Her: Yeah, I like the main character and I think this part is sad. Over all good.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and she is proud and supportive of my writing, but she’s not a writer. She looked as my work as looking for typos (and she did find one my beta and I missed.) Then she gave some praise and moved on.
There’s nothing wrong with this. I think all writers are dying for some praise. We love getting an ego boost. Everyone wants to produce that perfect piece of writing. The one that makes people cry and laugh and think.
But the reality is, those bits of writing are hard to come by. The first (and second, sometimes the third) drafts are usually garbage. It takes a lot of editing and polish and rewriting before they start to shine.
This is really why we need other writer friends.
I have a friend, who writers casually. By casually, I mean she finished a book in six years. She enjoy’s doing it, but it’s more of a hobby for her.
Anytime any kind of writer’s block strikes, I just have to give her a call. We’ve had countless plot conversations where I say the beginning of an plot thread and she’s already spitting ideas back at me. Once, we were almost tripping over each other because the thoughts couldn’t come out fast enough.
Another friend is mine is a very vicious writer (If you like the video game Undertale, let me know. She’s written a very dark but insanely well written fan fic. It’s violent and mature, but boy is it good.) I love working with her, because she tears my work to pieces. Like a bear.
But it improved my writing. Wow, did it improve my writing. I went back and looked at a before and after. The difference were night and day.
I won’t lie, I anxiously wait for her return emails.
The last thing is, is how much writer’s block improves when you have writer friends. When you’re writing alone, it can be easy to slack or even let a project go. Writing a book is hard, especially when you factor in real life, day job, family, sleeping…
Having someone who reads each chapter and says, Wow, what happens next? And then asks, are you writing? I gotta know how this ends.
This right here, it kills writers block. Because now, you have an audience waiting for the next installment.
So please, get some writer friends. Find beta readers, one’s who’ll rip your work to shreds and then help build it back up. People who’ll read between the lines and tell you what needs more work and what really works well.
Sometimes, it’s just what a book needs.