In the second module we talked about calling in reinforcements, knowing when to do that, and finding some reinforcements to call in. We’re going to take that a step further here and talk about sustainable, ongoing support. This may be the holy grail for many authors. Finding a group of fellow writers with whom you can find support and provide support seems like it can be out of reach for many. The good news is that there are many social media groups, even hashtags to follow, which can help you cultivate such a group of people.
It’s important to know what support you need. Some people do well with daily or weekly check-ins. Others only need to know someone is there if they need something. Take some time to determine the support you’re looking for and what you’re willing to offer. Support, especially in an online environment where we may not see someone’s facial expressions or body language, really is a two-way street. It must be offered as well as received.
Take your time finding an online support group. There’s a chance that you may need to try out a couple of groups before finding one that fits. A good fit is vital when it comes to finding support. These are the people you want to believe have your back. You want to believe that they’ll support you no matter what. If you have any doubt, you won’t be able to fully utilize them and that will have an impact on your resilience.
This is very important if you belong to a marginalized group. Not every group is healthy for those who aren’t the group’s default. Dealing with a chronic illness (mental or physical), being LGBTQIA+ or not neurotypical, or being a BIPOC individual whose racial or ethnic identity is not well represented in the group can all affect how well a specific writing group can support you. While it can be beneficial to educate and work to inform members of a writing group, that’s not your job. If they truly want to be open and available to all, then they will respect, honor, and educate themselves about any differences that arise. You do not need to do the unpaid emotional labor of educating a group that chooses not to learn. Understanding and accepting this is also what finding support is about.
It’s my hope that you’ll be able to find a group that supports you and allows you to support others. That you find a group which lifts you through the hard times and celebrates with you when the good ones happen. Resilience is important. However, without a strong group to support and celebrate with, it also can be very lonely.
If you would like to try a group and are on Facebook, please visit Unbridled Authors: https://facebook.com/groups/AuthorBarn