It’s important for writers to surround themselves with as diverse a crowd as possible. I typically draw inspiration (and motivation) from the people around me, so here are eight types of friends I think all writers should have.
1. The one who obsesses over details
Recently, I gave the first draft of my novel to a good friend of mine. There were others (arguably more qualified) who offered to read it, but in the end, I handed the first draft over to him before giving it to anyone else.
Is he a writer? No. An editor? No.
He’s actually a statistician. That means he cares about details. He spots inconsistencies. Things I would never catch like, “You talked about the big game and described a football player, but you realize it’s spring, right?”
He’s also great at fact checking the timing of real-world events when I get so caught up in describing how the characters reacted that I forget there’s legitimate timing to consider.
2. The one who tells you like it is
For me, this is my boyfriend. He’s an engineer. Always questioning, always rational. But, he keeps me grounded, and I trust him to tell me when an idea is stupid or when something I write doesn’t make any sense.
He also gets bonus points for listening to every page of my novel out loud. He admitted he couldn’t follow what was going on (I read it to him over a period of years), but he listens because he knows it helps me edit.
3. The one who lifts your spirits
I have a friend who is the best pep talk giver. She can take the worst day of your life and make you feel like you just won the lottery after finding out you’re a superhero while riding off into the sunset with the love of your life.
When I feel like giving up after getting (yet another) rejection letter, she talks me into staying the course. She gets excited for me. She reminds me it’s not the end of the world. And, she makes me remember why I write in the first place.
4. The one who reads great books
It’s always good to have a friend who feeds your reading habit…among other habits (last year she bought me a book called Tequila Mockingbird). A friend that pushes you to read new books or books you wouldn’t normally read is essential when you’re a writer. You can’t write in a vacuum.
5. The one who pushes you out of your comfort zone
I’m not talking about someone who drags you into shark-infested waters wearing a seal suit. I’m talking about someone who isn’t easily embarrassed. Someone young at heart who has fun without caring whether or not they look like a fool. I recommend this type of friend to everyone, not just writers.
6. The one who listens to you talk for hours
I’m lucky in that the majority of my friends fall into this category. We’re a loud, chatty bunch.
I often come to my most important revelations when I’m talking to someone about what I’m writing. So, I’m thankful to have so many people who are willing to listen and offer opinions when I ask.
7. The one who asks good questions
Every writer needs someone standing by who will ask, “Okay, but why?” When you’re working on your own story, it’s easy to rationalize away inconsistencies or unrealistic characters. Having a friend who isn’t afraid to question you will help you write more well-rounded characters and convincing plots.
This doesn’t have to be confined to your writing, either. Sometimes it’s asking off-the-wall questions about something you see when you’re together or about life in general.
8. The one with the best stories
My group of friends loves stories, and while we have our own stories as a group, there are some people who get into more trouble than others.
I’ve heard about first dates that ended in someone getting arrested, a trip to Mexico that led to a lifetime of avoiding tequila, even psychic powers and supernatural events. It’s all fair game, and it’s all fodder for future stories.