Writing Without Cheerleaders

“When I write, I like it when other people give me encouragement.”

“I love the social media age. I can write and have people cheer me on at the same time lol!”

“I feel compelled to keep writing, because the writing community helps me when I do.”

That’s why we’re Writing All Wrong.

What’s the best word of encouragement you can give to writers struggling to write? I try to root for those in my writing community just as they have done for me, and I’m looking for ways to give back?

—Jamie Kushner, Ames, Iowa.

If you’re going to write, be a writer first, and a cheerleader last. There’s no proper place for a writing-cheerleader, or an “enthusiastic” participant.

“But I like cheering people on and motivating others so much!” GREAT! Then STOP pretending to be a writer. Stop saying you’re a writer. You are a cheerleader. Put down the pen, pick up the pom-poms, get in line.

“What’s wrong with encouraging others to write while writing?” If you have to ask, then you’re likely doing more of the former, and less of the latter. Your duty is to your craft, your art, your story. Your duty is not to your “writing community,” or else you’re putting writing in the wrong place.

“You’re just a jerk. I, for one, like the encouragement a writing community provides.” Point taken about that “jerk” thing. Thank you kindly. I, too, like most of the human race, need encouragement from time to time. But for that, I go to counseling. They’re often better at this “encouragement” deal.

“But what about struggling writers?” Let them struggle. That’s part of the process. Since when did we institute writer’s welfare? The war’s between the writer and the writing. Leave it be.

“But I NEED the encouragement from other writers! That’s what makes me happy about writing! Don’t you get it?” Oh, I get it. If writing doesn’t make you happy about writing, then there’s nothing more that needs to be said. Who needs deeper writing from the soul anyway?

“But I NEED to cheer on other writers! That’s just what I DO!” Good. You’re a cheerleader. I’m a writer. This is where we go our separate ways, yes?

Writing All Wrong can be reached via email (WritingAllWrong@me.com) and followed on Twitter (@WritingAllWrong).

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