Writing With Friends, Friends With Writing

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Serdar’s latest article on feedback investigated why we need feedback to know we’re not going wrong. Positive feedback has its limits, after all.

That article got me thinking about feedback from my fellow writers and socializing with my fellow writers. These are things that I others value, but I’ve come to realize that you don’t always get them from the same people.

It’s essential to have feedback from fellow writers because they’re fellow writers. There are some things only a fellow writer can provide, such as the best tools or personal stories. Even your fans can’t give that kind of feedback.

But we also want to socialize with fellow writers. We want people to get us and share our triumphs and complaints. Writers want to connect with each other – just like anyone else. Forget feedback – can I just hang out with someone who sort of understands.

These things don’t always come from the same people, which is a difference I’ve struggled to deal with. COVID isolation has only made it worse, cramming all my writing relationships into a few social media apps.

Sure, I want feedback from my fellow writers, but the ability to learn from each other may not mean you’re friends. You may not have enough similarities, be too busy, etc..  You may find some writing relationships only work in the professional sense.

But as for being friends with fellow writers, that’s a whole different sphere. Your friendship may be built – or grow around – things unrelated to writing. You may find you enjoy hanging out and don’t want to drag writing into it. Friendship is different than professional relationships.

As I navigated COVID and our current “not quite a disaster but damn” phase of COVID, I and others are trying to build and rebuild relationships. I find myself craving feedback and friendship with fellow writers, something they often share. We’re constantly trying to sort out what we’re looking for or what function a writer’s group serves.

We writers might need to pause and what relationships we’re looking for – and how current relationships work. We might have more than we know, less than we wanted, or find we’re confused about relationships.

But at least we’ll know.

Steven Savage