I had a long professional identity crisis in my thirties and forties. After practicing law for a brief period, then caring for young children, the wandering and searching for the "thing I was meant to do" ensued.
For years, I felt frozen—and shame—every time someone asked me "What do you do?"
You know that question everyone inevitably asks when they first meet you.
I stammered and made apologies when I didn't have a simple—or satisfactory-to-me—answer, and pretty much wanted to dig a hole and bury myself in it in those moments.
I forgot that I had been a teenager who published my first article when I was a high school senior, a personal essay in my local newspaper about a study abroad experience in England.
My father, back in New York with the rest of my family, had mailed me a copy of the newspaper clipping with this note:
Years ago, when I was in the throes of hands-on parenting, my nightstand was piled high with parenting books.
One of those books was GOOD FAMILIES DON'T JUST HAPPEN.
As I recall, the author was the mother of TEN SONS (and no daughters) and her book described the intentionality with which she and her husband approached child-rearing and what made their family work.
Putting aside the astonishing amount of testosterone in that household, the central point of the book is a good one (an aside for writers: note how perfectly the title communicates the point of the book!).
Good families don't just happen. They require intentionality, commitment, consistency, support, and a plan—and the ability to pivot when the plan isn't working.
Those 80%+ of Americans who say they want to write a book "some day"—most of them, I reckon, would like...
Finding support is the final step in my 4-Step Solution to Getting Your Nonfiction Book Out of Your Head and Onto the Page.
Writers are better with support, and this is especially true for writers working on a book-length project. Writing a book is a marathon, and writers are more likely to get to Mile 26.2 if they aren't going it alone.
Writers can benefit from various types of support.
Here we are talking about support on the writing itself, ie., feedback on the page.
Family and friends: Just say no! Although it's tempting to ask family or friends to read and comment on your work-in-progress, this is almost always a bad idea. Even if people near and dear to you have experience with critique, it's difficult, if not impossible, for them to be objective.
Writing groups and critique partners: These two options can be effective...