Real Life Friends

This week we're talking about friendships. Yesterday we had some great discussion on cyber friends. In summary, I think we can all agree that it's possible to have genuine frienships through cyber space.

However, we risk the danger of hiding behind our computers and sharing selectively, perhaps only telling what makes us look best in the eyes of our cyber friends. It takes courage to be real, even in cyberspace.

Today I'd like to bring the discussion a little closer to home. What about those flesh and blood friends? Does such a thing even exist anymore?!

Of course, I'm kidding! I'm sure we all have plenty of real life friends (as opposed to cyber friends). We can't hide as easily behind masks with real life friends; they can usually see us for who we really are. But what I want to know is: how well do those friends support your writing?

I'm blessed with a wonderful group of like-minded friends. We're all in approximately the same stage of parenting, we share our struggles and joys, and our children love playing together. They're the kind of friends who would take the shirt off their back for me if I needed it. I'm sure you have those kind of friends too.

However. . .many of these friends just don't "get" my writing. Here are a few of the kinds of responses I've received when I've shared writing news with various friends:
  • "Writing a book? That's nice. . . Um, so how's the weather?"

  • "That's great you're writing a book. I'm thinking of writing one too. I have this really neat idea."

  • "How exciting! Is your book in the bookstore yet? I'll be the first to buy it!"

Maybe you've had similar responses that range from complete disinterest to total misunderstanding of how long the process takes, or that friend who talks about the best seller he is going to write.

The bottom line is that it takes a writer to understand one. No one but another writer understands just how hard this writing journey is, how many hours we labor, how many craft books we've studied, how many edits we've made, how many years we've plodded forward without any accolades.

What kinds of responses have you gotten from your real-life, non-writing friends? What response is hardest for you to take? Disinterest? Misunderstanding? Ignorance?

Let's commiserate together! Share what bothers you most because we will understand!


  1. I really enjoyed this post, Jody! When I think of my non-cyber friends, three people jump to mind. My college friend who lives in Madison, my sister-in-law, and one of my coworkers. I can talk to these ladies about anything and everything. We'll go to breakfast at Panera and sit and talk and laugh for hours. It's wonderful. And even more wonderful because they get me as a writer. They read and love my stories, understaand how tough the industry is (b/c I've told them), and they believe in me. All three of them are a huge blessing.

    It's the more casual friends or acquaintances that I feel don't understand. These are the ones where after I tell them I'm a writer, their eyes will light up and I always know what's coming next. "I didn't know that! Where can I buy your books?" And then I feel propelled to defend myself by jumping into a lengthy explanation of why I'm not published. Why do I feel this way? Why can't I just leave it with a simple, "I'm not published yet?"

    Wow - that was long! And I typed it all while breastfeeding my son. I'm apparantly a good multitasker!

  2. Katie... my hat is off to you. Breastfeeding while blogging, that is TRUE multi-tasking!!!!


    First, let me say, I think I am more "real" to my cyber friends than I am my in-person friends, and yes, I know that is exceedingly sad.

    Partly because of what you mentioned. That I am a writer is a HUGE part of me,and my brain works kinda wierd. Y'all get me, they don't always.

    The kind of comments I get?

    Katie said it best, "Where an I get your book?" and after I explain that I write but am waiting to be published, they say, "well let me know when it comes out." and everytime I see them thereafter, "Are you published yet?" I just want to say, THANKS for the reminder that I'm NOT!

    And to be rediculously honest, my number of close friends "in person" is limited. I work all day in a secular envirement, and count osme of them as friends, but like "best friend". Most other "mothers" my age are at home with their kids, going to mommy and me classses, meeting at the park, the rec center, but what I am doing? Working. The women's group at church meets later in the evening, and we live 30 minutes from church. there is no way I'm getting out on a week night to spend an hour driving, have to deal with child care.... my days are stressful enough!

    Point being, I don't have a lot of time for socializing. Weekends are spent catching up on housework and my FAVORITE pasttime, WRITING.

    I sound sad don't I. I know it. Blah.

    This is long now and I'm so gonna be late for work, so toodles!!

  3. Oh, boy, you sure got this right. Why do you think I've sought of writer cyber friends, Jody?

    Yeah, although my friends and family support my writing, none of them come close to fully understanding this process. But that's okay, there are things about them that I can't begin to understand, either. Doesn't mean I don't support them with it as best as I can, though. Just like they do for me.

    Some days, though, I've got to admit, I really long for someone to sit down with me with coffee or tea and just chat completely about our writing journeys with understanding and encouragement for one another. Even critiquing each others work in person would be awesome. I keep praying for God to bring someone like that into my life. All in His timing.

    Great post, Jody!

  4. Your posts always make me smile.
    I don't expect people to "get it." I don't really get their jobs either. "Oh, you're a project manager at a bar-coding company? How nice."

    The only people I do expect to get it are my writing friends. I'm very blessed to be able to meet one of my friends every Thursday for coffee and writing. Sometimes a few other people will join us, but no matter what we're there.

    I think it keeps me sane during this crazy process!!

  5. Katie: I hate that feeling of needing to defend myself too. But non-writers just don't understand how involved the process is, how hard it is to find an agent, and even how hard it is for agents to find editors! It's hard to explain it without having to go into tremendous amounts of detail and without having to sound pathetic. So most of the time I just don't say anything!
    (And yes, I think we moms have to learn to multi-task or we'd never get anything done!)

    Krista: I've found myself having to cut back on lots of outside social activities too. I just can't do everything and have time for my writing. So understand what you're saying. I'm sure it must be even crazier to have a full time job outside the home and then try to juggle all of your other responsibilities too! Whew, makes me tired just thinking about it!

    Eileen: I totally understand that longing! It would be a dream come true to have a real live friend to have coffee with and share all about our writing. I wish you lived closer and we could do that!

    Jill: I'm jealous! You are SO blessed to have a writing buddy to actually get to meet with on a regular basis! Since I don't, I rely on you and other cyber writing friends for the encouragement and advice! So thank you!

  6. I'd say disinterest. I'm not sure my closer friends would be disinterested (at least they'd act interested even if they didn't "get it"). Wow, some of my closest friends live all over the country and I can count them on one hand, but they are treasures and I know they'd be there for me through thick and thin.

    I've been thinking a lot on this topic myself, as I'm really enjoying some of the people I'm getting to know blogging.

    It reminds me to make face time, but that's hard b/c of the distance...

    ~ Wendy

  7. All my friends are awesome and support my writing. But none of them really "GET" it as you say. That's why I was so psyched to make friends on the Internet. Writing friends. The ones who understood this insane part of me. I love both sets of friends equally. :)

  8. Absolutely, it does take another writer to understand. Most of my friends care superficially, that is, they'll ask, nod their head, and then move on. My dearest "sisterfriend" couldn't be any more encouraging and sincere, though. And I dig that. :)

  9. My friends are generally very supportive. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard the, "I'd like to write a book some day" comment from any of them.

  10. I'm very blessed with supportive friends and family. They're my foundation, especially when I'm rejected.

  11. Most of my friends are very supportive. But back when I first started telling them that I was writing (it wasn't for several years after I'd already begun) they had the same response that I've seen a lot on the rest of the comments here. "Where can I get it?" Or, "What's it called so I can look for it the next time I go to the bookstore?" Even my family would ask me that. And then when I'd get around to explaining that I haven't been published yet and the process of it all, most would lose interest or just say, "Oh."

  12. Jody:
    THANK YOU for giving us the opportunity to share about this!
    My family is very supportive; my husband lets me sit in the computer room for hours, barely coming up for breath, and my son, who has a degree in English comp, is helpful with eiditing. My daughter has written a book of her own, so she understands. But, most of my non writing friends just smile and give me blank stares. So, i don't discuss it with those i think won't understand; it's too frusttrating.
    The hardest thing for me has been a friend who is a writer who tried and tried to get their book published but never succeeded. They think they are helping when they tell me how hard it is, the competition, etc. That's rough.

  13. I am mostly a closet writer and have been for years only because I hate the questioning that comes along with it. Of course the ones who know assume I should be published by now or quite it is a different world.

  14. When I first shared my novel with my sisters they were shocked that I could write. Apparently I was a closet writer even to myself! I think most people find me crazy and I must admit I am sometimes embarrassed to say I wrote an entire novel. People think I'm crazy enough already ;)

  15. It bothers me when people act like once you finish writing it you just seal it up in an envelope and send it to the publisher of your dreams. It is a massive accomplishment just to finish a book--and that is only the beginning.

    I love people who understand that. :)

  16. Wendy: I certainly have been enjoying getting to know you!

    Lady Glamis: I am excited to have cyber writing friends too that can really understand what it's like. We need that!

    Janna: I think the superficial caring bothers me the most; it feels as if they don't validate what I'm doing (or don't really think I can publish a book).

    Melissa: Your lucky! I seem to get a lot of "I have a great idea for a book; if only I had the time." (As if I do!) :)

    Rebecca: You sound really blessed!

    Cindy: Some of my friends that have been more supportive eventually loose interest too. It's probably a good thing since I have nothing new to tell them and probably won't for a while! :)

    Jeanette: That would be hard to have a writer friend who continually nay says! While we certainly want to be realistic about our writing (and where we're at in the journey), we need to encourage each other! It's already hard enough without someone's negativity dragging us down!

    T. Anne: I've struggled with being a closet writer. With some people I figure it's not worth mentioning that I write; but with other friends I'd like their support, but when I mention it, I don't always get the support I craved!

    Marybeth: That's too funny! I'm amazed that you could hide it from your family for so long without them wondering what you've been up to with all your time!

    Jenn: It is really only the beginning. But I don't think non-writers realize how difficult it is to break into the market right now!

  17. Just stopping in to note... it is GREAT to know that we're not alone isn't it? Here I've thought that my feelings of wierdness with my family and friends regarding my writing was mine alone, but if everyone feels that way... wow that just makes me feel SO much better!

    Won't it be such a RELIEF to someday be able to answer their question with... "Why yes, My book's name is XYZ and you can find it on Amazon or at most any bookstore!"


  18. I have to admit that my friends in my neighborhood make a bigger deal out of me writing than I do.
    They're a strange bunch. LOL!
    But I know I'm blessed. :)

  19. My real life friends are some of the most supportive people in my life! This may be due to the fact that I have known them since college when I was a theatre major, so they've always been aware that I have the creative bug (and some of them share it too).

  20. Krista: I've had a few short things published and when I shared that with my friends, I got the same kinds of response from them. "Oh, nice" or "I was thinking of writing a children's story too." That kind of stuff! Some of my friends didn't even respond to my very excited group email that I sent out! I was really bummed that they weren't as excited as I was! I guess they just don't understand how much work I put into even those little things and how much of an accomplishment it was!

    Jennifer: You are spoiled! I remember you blogging about the limo and the red carpet! Your friends ROCK!

    Kate: I'm always jealous of people who have real life writing friends! Consider yourself truly blessed!

  21. Oh Jody, I don't have any real, fleshy friends who get me. Sure, they are excited for me on this journey, but they just want to know when they can read it. Only my dad understands, but then...he's a guy and he's my dad. Sigh...

    I love the online friends I've made and really need the encouragement then send my way. Woohoo for Cyber Buddies!

  22. I've given up talking about writing with my real friends. I think until they hold a full book with my name on it--they see it differently than I do. I remember when I was so excited about being published for the first time in Chicken soup, and a friend kind of laughed and said so? SO?? I tried explaining to him how many submit and I was thrilled--but gave up after I realized he would never understand my joy.

  23. Sherrinda: I'm glad we can encourage each other! It's such a blessing to have cyber friends who understand how hard this process is! How's the editing? Saw on FB that you were up to some of that!

    Terri: Why can't non-writers understand the excitement of our writing milestones! I think that getting published in anything is a great accomplishment! Unless someone's experienced the pain of rejections, I just don't think they can experience the joys of getting published the way we do!

  24. Three chapters coming your way! I've been working on them, trying to change some of the passive and kill some of the pesky adverbs. Couldn't kill all of them though! Yikes! Now I am going to relax and read YOURS! Woohoo! (No work on my WIP tonight, but I have the afternoon off tomorrow and add some numbers to my progress bar.)

  25. Hi Sherrinda,
    I've got your chapters downloaded and ready to read! How exciting!! Hope you have a nice afternoon off and enjoy your lovely lap top!


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