I was perusing my Twitter within the #writingcommunity, which has always been interesting. This is an amazing resource to get support and know that your journey is unique but relatable to a certain group of people.
An author tweeted if she’s the only one who is getting zero support from family and friends. I was reading all the replies and confirming this over and over again. This summarises it:
A few weeks ago, I felt a sense of dread as I realise that I was so isolated and alone ever since I published my poetry book. It felt pathetic.
I am still grateful that my family supports me, from my idea to publish a book to buying multiple copies to give to their friends as gifts. They believed in me. They genuinely enjoyed the book. Each call, texts, emails gave me happy tears. A few of them even gave me online reviews.
But in my friendship world, as soon as I announced that my book will launch, my website launched, my videos released, SWOOSH. They went silent. Fine, everyone’s coping and going through something, especially during the pandemic, and fine, everyone is doing the best they can—but pandemic or not, aren’t we all busy and somewhat in a jam one way or another?
I felt unsupported in general. It is not about the sales or trying to be popular, and heck, not trying to be a bestseller but the acts of other intangible kinds of support coming from usual friendship unspoken code:
- Acknowledgment of the news (“Hey, thanks for the update – good luck!“)
- Reviews, upvotes and star ratings on online book websites like Goodreads or Reedsy
- Checking your website or blog
- Social media support – retweets, likes, reposts, shares, bookmarks, etcetera
- “What would a normal friend do” things
Writing this down, maybe it is too much to ask, isn’t it? Writing is perceived as a hobby by most, so they do not take it seriously. It does not add up, though. Why is your friend running a marathon gets more support than someone who bravely writes and publishes their book out in the wild?
With this, as I can hear, you say: “Maybe they’re not really your friends.” Yes, I know that now. As the friendship goes in cycles and different phases, we all evolve, and some relationships will come and go just like the tides of the sea change. Maybe this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.
But we have to keep going. You may or may not know as a newbie author that this is a longer-term commitment. Only a few will get a strong following in their first few months due to some (viral) circumstance. Most of us have to work hard to create our business plan, book marketing and sales engagement. This is when we seek communities going through the same experiences, feeling the same emotions, bantering at each other’s writing humour, and cheering everyone on from multiple rejections, isolation, and victories.
Once you’ve come to accept that support comes in unexpected forms, that’s when you can blossom. Here are some of the places you can find our pack of lone wolves (the list is not too specific but just to give you general exploration guidelines):
- Writing communities of Facebook
- LinkedIn Indie author groups
- Twitter #writingcommunity and #poetrycommunity
- Instagram #authorsofinstagram and #bookstagram
- TikTok poets and spoken word users
- Reedsy, BookBub, StoryOrigin etc.
There are hundreds of these. You just have to take the plunge and explore what works for you.
I stopped expecting or assuming too much from anybody personally and from social media. I am investing more of my energy in writing new poems for my next poetry book collection and slowly building up A Fraction of Momentary Love‘s following and exposure. I’d rather have a small crowd who are interested than a huge following who will troll and cancel you to death because they think they own you.
After all, we’re suckers for pain and glory. I’ll be there for you and cheer you on. Keep writing!
X.S. Shout-out to my exceptional friends who always embrace my extreme life adventures even when they don’t understand, they love me anyway! See, not everything is lost. Silver linings indeed.