I just had one of these weeks where it hit home how crucial a support system is. After a little bit of an emergency, where two of my friends literally dropped everything to rush to my side to help me, it became pointedly clear how important friends are.
That's true in the writing sphere as well. It makes me sad that we as writers can't be more open with one another. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to wrestle a Tasmanian devil tied to a porcupine into a cat carrier than it is to get writers to open up about their careers.
I'm guilty too. I feel like I have to keep my cards close to my chest. I live in constant fear of coming off as unprofessional, uncool, or unctuous. Okay, I'm mostly kidding about that last one.
While I can solve the last problem with some nice shampoo, uncool I've struggled with my entire life. How am I suddenly supposed to be graceful and gracious now when I tend to snort when I laugh, say too much, and scrunch up my whole face when I smile?
I long to be polished and unfazed by anything, and yet, if people could hear what goes on in my head as I navigate the halls of a writer's conference. And we all go through this in one way or another.
But that insecurity is dangerous. Insecurity leads to back-biting, the worst kind, where you are the perpetrator, not the victim.
The only defense we have is the support of friends. In a crisis, through thick and thin, the pressure is off if you know you have at least one person you trust that you can be completely open and honest with. You can unburden yourself of pressure without worrying that you sound ungrateful for the opportunities you've been given. You can be honest about your disappointments or cheer your victories without worrying about jealousy.
A writing friend like that is the most precious commodity in this business. If you have one, treat her like a queen, because trust like that is precious. If you don't have one yet, be a true friend to others, always. That's the best way to open the door.