Not all writers are created equal. There’re probably some writers out there who don’t like to share their work with the world, even with their closest friends and family. And some writers are okay with strangers reading their material, but not their friends.
But most writers I know, myself included, DO WANT TO BE READ.Tweet this
That’s right: we want to be read by as many people as possible. Of course there’s a sales part of it. However I believe the bigger part is curiosity: how others will feel about the words we put together, characters and worlds we have created. We spend so much time and effort on our writing, especially our fiction.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate anyone who’s taken interest in reading whatever piece I created. But reading longer pieces takes more time, and it’s a bit harder to get more people to read your longer work – before it’s published and has gained a reputation.
I love it when my friends read me. My family is optional, because well, I don’t exactly write family-friendly stuff. But being read by people we love…well, that’s just a priceless feeling. (Don’t think you have to like what you read. Constructive criticism is cool, just don’t express your feelings like Internet trolls do, and we’ll be fine.)
I’m very fortunate to have great friends who love to read, and they’re enthusiastic about my work. I love it when they push me to write more stuff and send them my drafts sooner. (Sending big hugs to Nastya and Pinar.)
Then I have some dear friends who do care a lot about me, just not so much about my work. Sometimes it’s a genre issue. Frankly, if a friend is all about horror, I’m not going to be even the slightest bit of hurt, disappointed or surprised they chose to stay away. They should.
And then I have friends who don’t really like to read that much, especially when it’s novels we’re talking about. If they haven’t even tried addictive mainstream (but extremely cool and thrilling) authors like Brown, Grisham or Child, I won’t feel entitled to their reading time. If those guys don’t get a shot, I’m okay not making the list.
But some friends do read. They read and watch stuff in the genres I write. Now, they all have jobs and lives and other tons of stuff they have to do and like to do. I get that. Writing though, is not just my job or passion. It’s a part of who I am. That’s why it means so much when they want to know more.
We feel happy when people ask us about our day, careers, families, pets and love lives (well, generally), right? Please add writing to the top of that list.
So here’s the thing: the best gift you can give most writers is that you read or listen to their work.
You don’t have to spend any money. Spare the time it takes to go into a store and choose something. Instead, shoot your writing friend an e-mail and ask for something they wrote. Then tell them what you thought. That’s it. You have no idea how happy that will make them.
Now, if you’ve asked and asked and they refused to send stories your way, it’s on them. But many writers will send it once they feel the work is ready.
You absolutely want to spend money? Then here are some alternative suggestions (though recommended you read their work and then provide something else if you want):
– Writing equipment.
– Coverage and/or editing services. Those can be expensive, so if you’ve the budget, it will be appreciated. That said, you need to make sure of what your friend exactly needs and where they want it from. Some might have a wish list on Amazon or their blog, so that’ll be a good place to start.
– Writing-themed stuff. The funnier, the better.
– Books on writing. But make sure it’s relevant, they need it and don’t already have it.
– Writing courses
What do you think? What have you “bought” your writer friends? Writers, how often do your friends/family read you? Let us know in the comments. And if you like this article, please share on.