Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one. —C.S. Lewis
A Story From My Youth
Once, when I was in my early twenties, I went to a party and met a guy who worked for an Eye Bank. I was surprised and impressed to meet this young doctor who clearly performed transplants for people, and was even more shocked to learn that nearly everyone at the party worked for an Eye Bank. I had no idea it was such a huge industry! I was amazed! What important work!
It took some time, but this guy finally realized that I thought we were talking about human eyes. He wasn’t. He worked for an I-Bank. An investment bank.
“Oh,” I said. “So—what does that mean?”
“I manage portfolios,” he said.
“Like...” I struggled to comprehend this, “for artists?”
[END OF SCENE]
Failure To Connect
The point of this tale is that I had no idea what he was talking about (clearly). And when I tried to describe my job editing books for young adults, he couldn’t imagine it, either. When I talk about writing, I’ve found that most people who are not writers don’t really understand both what’s exciting and what’s challenging about the work. They’ll listen, but they won’t really get it.
Writers Who Need Writers
As writers, we need other writers in our lives.
As writers, we need other writers in our lives. Not exclusively, of course. But we need colleagues and peers—people who understand the struggle and who know what success looks like. (There is nothing worse than telling someone that you landed an agent only to have them say, “Oh, is that...good?”) We need people who can help us brainstorm, challenge our ideas, and point us toward beautiful books and share thoughtful articles. Ideas and stories are our currency, and when we exchange these freely, we enrich ourselves and each other. Now is a good time to reach out and check in on some of your writer friends. We need each other, just as we always do.