You want to know who the world’s most unsung heroes and heroines are? (I mean besides your plumber because trust me, this guy is still not getting the appreciation he deserves.) The people who act as a support system for writers and don’t snap. We writers rarely talk about it, we don’t want to think about it, and except for the hastily scribbled thanks we throw into the acknowledgement sections of our books most writers don’t even really like to admit it– without the people who make up our support system 99% of writers would be curled up in a corner, rocking back and forth, gibbering to ourselves. We’d be nothing without the people in our lives that keep us that particular brand of functional crazy that lets us get books out but doesn’t end with us cracking open skulls to look at blood patterns as “research”.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a recent example from my real life:
I’ve been plotting out a new series (Rom Suspense) over the past month and I’ve been annoying my friends constantly over it. Why annoy my friends you might ask? A couple of reasons:
1.) It’s Rom Suspense– a genre I’ve never even tried to write before– and I whine anytime I have to try something new even if it was my own stupid idea.
2.) They generally have better ideas that I do and they’re usually willing to share.
3.) Yeah, I’m that friend. I annoy them with my whining and the seemingly endless problems that take over my day as a writer. Like finding handsome men to use for muses. I know! The struggles I go through as a writer. It’s amazing I endure from day to day with the tortures I put myself through.
4.) I’m a writer– obviously they want to help me out. Right? (aka– I write fiction therefore my life involves at least a little delusion. Sure it’s a real job if I’m in my pajamas all day, with just a little work and some luck I can have Nora Robert’s publishing career, ect.)
So, like the annoying friend that I am, I contact my flist and I say “anyone have ideas for good looking men? Specifically hot but disaffected former Army Rangers, gorgeous men in suits, and an uber-sexy nerd who can hold his own in Clark Kent fashion?
Then the reason I annoy my friends became evident. Within 24 hours I had the following replies:
1.) Pictures of one of my friend’s husbands (who’s also a friend) from 10 years ago in his Army uniform. Him from 10 years ago without a shirt on, and pictures of him at their wedding– in dress uniform– from the same time period.
2.) An email from his wife telling me to disregard everything sent to me from the idiot she married. Attached were action shots of guys from her local uni’s ROTC group who were more than willing to take their shirts off and pose to help a girl out. THANK YOU BOYS!!!! I feel old and slightly pervy now but I can live with it. No problems. And thank you to the friend who took the time out of her day to chase them down on their run and ask for pictures to help out a poor, struggling writer. I know how hard it must have been to go ogle men for my lazy butt.
3.) 54 pictures of hot nerds in various states of undress. The one in the chemistry lab in nothing but a g-string with all those beakers full of chemicals seems ill advised to me in real life so let’s hope that particular picture was staged. Otherwise I’ve got to reevaluate my college choices because my chem TAs never looked like that or went around with so few clothes on. I know I’d have paid a lot more attention– and gotten a better grade in Gen. Chem I&II– if they had. As it stands the idea of my Chem TA in that outfit? So not good. So, so not good. Ugh I feel dirty just writing about the idea of it.
4.) 35 pictures of men taking suits off. Where can I find these men? I know a bunch of brokers, analysts, lawyers, ect. None of them look like this. Trust me, I would have paid attention if they did! What firms do these men work for? Because I’ve got to tell you I’m going to start investing with them. And sending bouquets of flowers to the clothing companies that make those suits. I mean I didn’t think it was physically possible to get hot over a guy who’s doing taxes. Apparently there are things I need to learn about life yet and one of them is how to make tax day more appealing.
5.) 103 pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch in suits. 1 of him in nothing but a newspaper. I’m really not sure where to go with this except to mention that now I’m trying to figure out how to get the hero in one of these novels stuck in a pub with no clothes and a newspaper. If I manage it the self declared Cumberbitch who sent me the pictures has promised to keep me well stocked in Guinness on our next girls night out together. I’m not a girl to turn down free beer so this has become something of a logistics issue. How do you get your hero naked not just in public (easy enough) but also have a newspaper on hand?
And this is why good friends with a sense of humor are essential in this job. I’m one of those writers that spend most of my time locked in the basement in my office working, only going out for essentials and other errands– like children they have a lot of errands all their own, and living inside my own head. When I come out of my shell it’s nice to have people around that know how to make me laugh. And send me pictures of pretty men. The pretty men are always appreciated. Not as much as emails with the subject line: I Dare You To Get This in a Book Somehow– but the pretty men are still appreciated.
So what about you? How does your support system keep you sane? And if they send pictures of pretty men– please share. I’m always looking to expand my collection.