Who Believes in You?

Who Believes in You?

onwritingThis week, I tweeted a quotation from Stephen King that spurred many retweets:

“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference.”Stephen King, On Writing

I was grateful and relieved that so many writers acknowledged this truth. Not just the lonely – or solitary – part. But also the need to have someone who believes in you. The more I thought about this, the more I realized this applies to all of life. No matter your passion. Your ally has your back on days when it all feels too heavy. She can listen, coach, or tell you to go for a walk.

There are two paradoxical sides to this coin:

  • One is to have someone who believes wholeheartedly in your gifts. That person who knows when to bring out the cheerleader and when to release the tough-love coach.
  • Two is to know that your work is not you. I know. This is the challenging one. As a recovering workaholic, I completely understand identifying with my work. Trust me.

I believe in a rich life. With many outlets for creativity. Writing is my primary outlet. One I have honed for years and can jump into at any moment. I adore writing. But I cannot say it was my first love – that was dancing and music. Storytelling came later. Soon after that, came climbing trees and riding my bike. And so, I know, writing is not my only love. Or my sole source of happiness. Life is too spontaneous for that.

So when I choose to spend a lot of time in a solitary pursuit, I am learning to build community around it. What the heck does that mean? For me, it means sharing the experience. Being honest about what I love about writing and what drives me crazy. Not hoarding the whole thing to myself like some kind of secret stash of Halloween candy.  Telling the people in my life that their support matters to me. Asking for help. And sharing the good, bad, and the ugly with my fellow writers…with the intention of cheering them on.

On Writing is one of my top three books about pursuing a creative life. King is honest, succinct, and pulls no punches. He loves his work and he lays it all bare. And he sure as hell doesn’t take any excuses from himself or any other writer. He loves the work too much for that garbage.

So when I feel a twinge of loneliness or self-pity when I am writing, I use the feeling as a reminder that it’s time to share or reach out. The more we all make that move, the closer and more authentic the world will be.

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Kate Tremills
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