Who’s On Your Team?
I earn a living as a medical writer. No one ever knows what that means, so here’s the short description: I write medical content for a consumer audience (that cleared it up, right?). Occasionally it’s straight-up medical information, like explaining the difference between controller medication and rescue medication for asthma (I know! the excitement rarely abates). But much more often I’m writing content meant to empower people to make healthy changes. Losing weight. Quitting smoking. Exercising more (or at all). Managing stress.
One thing is always true: making these kinds of changes is HARD.
So what does this have to do with writing? Starting an exercise routine and quitting smoking require discipline. So does writing. And for most people, sticking with something day after day isn’t easy.
According to health behavior psychology research, a few things--having a meaningful motivation, setting the right kinds of goals, and preparing for barriers and setbacks--make success a lot more likely.
Another key ingredient is support.
Who Supports You?
People who have known me most of my life probably would be surprised that I’m blogging about support, because to call me independent would be an understatement. I hardly ever ask for help in any form. My writing life has become the exception--the HUGE exception.
Support can take many forms. A spouse who cooks dinner so you have time to do writerly things (check, more times than I can count). Friends who cheer you on (yep, ridiculously loyal people). Other writers who offer you advice or answer questions (thank you, internet). Random strangers who show interest or offer to help (surprising how often this happens). People who read your stuff and give you feedback (patient souls).
Months ago on a writer message board, I saw a thread basically asking people to comment about who supports them as they write and in their quest for publication and book sales. A couple of the responses were kind of sad. A few people said they didn’t really have any support aside from what they got on the message board. One woman said her husband actually mocked her when she’d sit down to write. Ouch.
I’m lucky--my husband was elated when I started writing a lot. My friends and family think it’s cool, even if they don’t totally get the process. In the past few months I’ve met a ton of people online who have helped me or made me feel more connected in one way or another.
But not everyone is lucky this way. What if you’re not getting the support you want or need? The first thing to do is ask for it. Sometimes you get what you ask for! The next thing to do is offer support to other people, because it’s a two-way street.
One Last Thing...
When was the last time you said “thank you” to the people who support you or help you feel connected? Don’t wait until you’re writing the acknowledgments page of your book. :)
For reaching out, giving me advice, helping me, or encouraging me recently, thank you:
My husband Dustin. My parents, stepparents, and sisters. Abby. Ryan.
Lynn O. Nivvy. Kayleigh G. Natasha L. Matthew M.
Tymothy, Sean, Christin, Thomas, and the other 11 BNFFs.
Aaron (x 100). Angeline (who deserves an entire post).
K C Neal
Twitter: @DigitalPalaver http://twitter.com/#!/DigitalPalaver
Corinne Finley hangs out with her best friend Anjelika, bakes recipes her grandmother taught her, and works shifts at her dad’s café in the small town of Tapestry. Her life changes when she accidentally doses most of the student body with her grandmother’s potions, and discovers she’s haunted by the same nightmares as her friend Mason. As Corinne and Mason search for answers, she tries to ignore the sparks igniting between them, but she can’t deny she feels truly safe only when he's nearby. The one person who can prepare them to face their destiny is lost in a fog of dementia. Will they find help before their nightmares break free?