Writing is difficult at the best of times. When things are going badly, or when things are going well, it always helps to have another writer to talk to. Because no one, and I mean absolutely no one, understands a writer like another writer.
I see this often. Family members may be supportive. They may care about you and want you to do well and cheer you on. They may sympathize with you when things are going badly or the words don’t come. But they don’t understand what you are really going through because they are not themselves writers.
Writers are a special breed. I don’t mean that in any privileged sense. If anything writers are the least understood, the least respected, and the least thought of people in the entire process. Oh, sure, other writers and editors and publishers respect writers. (For the most part.) But they are all involved in the business and profession in some way so even if they are not writers themselves they get some of what we go through by osmosis.
But your average Joe and Jane in the street…they don’t understand. And I don’t blame them at all. I blame us. I blame writers. We are at fault for not telling more people about what we go through, the battles we fight, the demons we face. We suffer most of these in silence because writing is so solitary anyway. The solitary nature of writing feeds directly into us keeping these things to ourselves.We should try to be more open. I think if we were people would respond.
No one understands this like another writer. I firmly believe that. Even if you take other artistic expressions, a painter say, or a sculptor. At least they have a model to work from. A bowl of fruit. All writers have are ourselves. We sit alone in front of a screen and the only person in the entire world we can depend on is ourselves.
That wears on you. That drains you. That takes little pieces away from you a bit at a time until you start to feel like you’re becoming invisible. That is way you should always have a writer friend you can talk to. Because we can say things to each other and we understand perfectly what is going on. If I say to my Writing Buddy “I’m having trouble finding an entry point into this story” she knows exactly what I am going through. I don’t have to go into detail how I am being haunted and feel like I am in a maelstrom of doubt. She knows that already because she’s been there.
No one understands a writer like another writer. Not because we are special in any way…but because we face demons other people don’t usually face, and we are forced to face them alone.