The Care And Support Of A Writer

How to support a writer in eight (easy?) steps

8. Leave them the fuck alone!

It’s rare to get into the flow state for writing—and it’s incredibly valuable. I’ve produced 40+ pages in a sitting because I got into the flow of it. Don’t disrupt your writer, don’t ask questions. In fact, as much as you can, try to disappear. And if your writer is in the zone but you had plans? It’s his or her turn to take the dog for a walk? You know they have to wake up early and it’s currently 3 a.m.?

Just leave them the fuck alone. One of the most supportive things you can do is treat that flow state as sacred. I know it’s a pain to change your plans while they stare at a screen and type, but don’t worry … this doesn’t happen very often.


But there’s also an unacknowledged Step Nine.

9) Be there when the post-creation depression hits.

When a writer is hot, it’s a better sensation that even sex. It’s the act of Creation. We are God.

On the seventh day, God rested.

Writers never rest.

And after the act of creating comes the act of self-assessment.

And we are never, ever pleased with what we’ve created.

It’s shit. It’s always shit.

No matter how good it actually is, it’s shit to the writer.

There’s always a vision in the mind that is never met by the words on the page. Because that vision remains unobtainable.

If it could be grasped, if it could be nailed down with words, a writer would write just once and then have to find a conventional job in Suit World.

Why do some writers take years and years to create a book you can read in just three to five hours?


It’s never good enough. And we want it to be good enough.

But it never is, so sometimes we have to just let it go, and it winds up in print because, thank God, an editor somewhere sees it as good enough to publish.

Then we begin again.

It’s never fun. It’s all torment.

Because deep down every writer knows that every other writer is better.

That’s not a perspective anyone in Suit World is burdened with. When was the last time a banker confided to you that he wasn’t a match for other bankers? When has a politician ever admitted that he feels inferior to his colleagues?


1 Comment

Filed under Writing

One response to “The Care And Support Of A Writer

  1. Oh, no, believe me, people in SuitWorld doubt themselves. It’s just that no one writes books about them or their doubts and no one finds out about their secret world of self-torture. Also, they make more money, so when they’re filled with self-doubt, they go out on their goddamned boat and while away the hours, reminding themselves of everything they’ve ever done right. I hates them, the Filthy Baggins.

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