Author and speaker Jo Saxton is passionate about encouraging writers to recognize their potential as leaders and to take risks in their work. She tells hope*writers, “It takes a village to raise, launch, and sustain a leader.”
So what does it look like to gather a supportive village? This is an important part of a writing life, especially if we want to do it for the long haul.
Jo offers the following questions for us to ask ourselves as we create a thriving community of people around us who will help to support and sustain our work as writers.
Before we can name what we need to thrive, we first have to define what a thriving writing life looks like for us. The answer to this question will be unique for each writer.
It’s important to consider your needs as they pertain to your specific goals, life season, and level of experience as a writer.
What kind of support will you need from others to create a thriving writing life? Once you determine the “what,” you can begin to look for the “who.”
Every team needs a cheerleader, and our cheerleaders can take multiple forms. Jo recommends including those who will provide relational connections — supporters who give us roots — as well as those who provide professional connections — supporters who give us wings.
We need supporters who encourage introspection, who offer thought-provoking conversation, and who recognize and call out our best work. Relationships with a critique partner, an editor, or a circle of fellow writers have the potential to pull work out of you that you may not realize exists within you already. This group may also include fellow writers who mentor you with their words, and who draw the best words out of you in return.
It’s important to know who is welcome in your village, but it’s equally important to know who doesn’t belong there.
Strangers on the internet, fellow writers who express jealousy, or overly critical readers have no place here. You may even have friends or family members who love you but who don’t actively support or understand the work you do.
It’s important to pay attention to that and recognize that while they may support you in other areas of our lives, they do not belong in your writing village.
When we’re focused on our writing, it can be easy to forget that we also need support in the practical areas of our everyday life.
Who do we need and what systems can we develop to maintain our writing life?
When we are under pressure with approaching deadlines or large projects, we need people who can step in to keep our life running smoothly. These may include a babysitter, a housecleaner, a virtual assistant, or a partner who agrees to shop and cook meals for a few weeks.
These roles can be filled in a variety of ways, with friends who are willing to swap tasks or childcare with us, with a spouse who provides financial support, or by hiring outside help.
Finding the right people to support your growth as a writer can be a challenge. At hope*writers we provide the kind of built-in support that helps you thrive as a writer.
Jo had so much wisdom to share with our hope*writers that we had a hard time narrowing it down to this list! Want to watch the entire conversation? Click here for free access to our hour-long conversation with Jo and take one step toward balancing the art of writing with the business of publishing.