The writing BFF — essential for a writer

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Today’s post is a personal one. Many of you may know what the acronym BFF stands for. For those who don’t: Best Friend Forever. I promise I never, ever, use the term because it makes me feel like a thirteen-year-old girl but the meaning is still important.

I separate myself into two categories.

  • I have me. Just me. My normal life.
  • Then there’s Writer Me.

Writer Me is a personality people outside of my writing life don’t know. Not my mum, my boyfriend, or my life best friend (whom I love dearly). See, we writers have a different persona when we close ourselves off from the world and begin writing. We literally — it feels that way for me — slip into a different world and become hermits, emotional wrecks, frustrated lunatic. Etc.

Your writing BFF is essential.

As writers, we can push ourselves through agonising years of no, or limited, success. We also feel satisfaction for our projects that can’t be replaced by joy in other parts of our lives.

Ther person I was before I started writing seriously (for publication) wouldn’t understand Writer Me — so why should my life best friend?

This brings me to the important part.

I have so, so many beautiful writing friends who know what it feels like to be a writer. More importantly, when I’m down they know what to do to comfort me.

Non-writers don’t get what it feels like to write 80,000 words. Re-write all 80,000 words two times. Have a critique partner tell you parts are weak, still, and need re-writing. Delete 30,000 words. Add 20,000 words. Throw out the manuscript. tell yourself you’ve quit. Pick up the manuscript. re-write it …

You get the point.

My writing BFF is Clare Ayala (Published author, Rachelle Ayala). Secretly, I think she must have many writers who feel the same as me because she’s so understanding, helpful beyond your imagination, and always gives me the time to praise me, critique me, pick me up, or chat. She had insight into my writing that left me gobsmacked. Her handle over fiction writing is superb.

Yes, I understand I just spilled the above secret.

At the time we met (through bestselling author, Melissa Foster), Clare was editing her début novel, Michal’s Window. She took interest in my manuscript and critiqued it for me. In like, two days. Or something ridiculous like that. When she sent it back she had comments, deletions and insertions on every second line or so.

The woman is a saint.

She had amazing insight. I’ve tried other writers and readers, some successful and some not, in critiquing my manuscript. Clare was the moment my career changed. She gave me confidence and told me where I was crap in my manuscript — the latter in a constructive way. Above all, she was honest.

Readers, I stress the importance of your writing best friend (BFF) because this lifestyle can be a lonely, depressing one as well as the most satisfying way to live.

Of course, my writing life couldn’t survive without my other close friends. I appreciate them so much for giving me their time.

Melissa Foster, who I said above introduced me to Clare, has boosted my career in all sorts of ways. I imagine Melissa goes non-stop between being a wife, mother, author and business woman. Yet, she makes me feel like I’m the only person who matters. That is a wondrous thing — to have that support.

Both her and Clare are authors I respect for their work and their friendship.

Indigo Grace, a writer working on a series of novellas, is my other critique partner whose difference in writing and books shaped Writer Me.

Indigo — I hated you when you critiqued me manuscript.

Why? Because she pointed out things I didn’t want to know. I coped by the Ostrich Method — by which I mean sticking my head in the sand. After a few days I couldn’t believe how lucky I struck it. She saved my manuscript! You betcha I got my rear end into gear and fixed up the holes and issues she pointed out.

My first beta reader was Lily Robertson. She’s isn’t a writer. She loves books. She picked up the biggest flaws in my manuscript when my story was a horrible, awful string of words “trying” to be a novel. I can’t believe she made it through the story. She helped me when I struggled to find people to critique my story.

I was so nervous giving her my manuscript. Ever since, I’ve learnt what to expect from a critique.

There are others who’ve helped me as a writer. Serena Palmieri, Lisa Kaye. Lovely gals. There are many others who’ve helped me in different ways — all to do with writing — but then I’d be getting even more off track than now.

— Conclusion —

Find a group of writing friends and open your fears to them. Once the hardest part of criticising your downfalls is over you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted.

Above all, find one person who’ll be with you through the highs and lows.

That, my friends, is your writing best friend (BFF). ♥