Writing about Writing Vol. 5

Two words that it took me a 3-years-plus hiatus to learn the importance of were “support system.”
Surround people who have something invested in your passion.  No, not (necessarily) a financial investment, but someone who cares that you care.  They can know their lane and understand that to mean to stand aside and let you be busy at it, they can accept an active role if one is to be had, an advisory role if one is solicited or if nothing else, someone to pat you on the back and tell you you’re doing a good job when you’ve done one in their opinion.

My mother: NEVER has she ever thought I was funny, and she has never been shy about telling me so.  More frequently, of late she has been letting me know at Sunday dinner that I am doing a wonderful job of getting her laughs out of her.
Hotep Wednesdays are her favorite.

My sisters:  Avid readers, the both of them.  One is mostly non-respondent to everything on the planet until there is an actual affront or something to be concerned with.  Her silence is usually a passive acceptance.  The other is the social butterfly who wants EVERYONE to be doing what they love and was excited to see me working on my passion again.

My brother:  Never a ton to say…  “N**ga, ‘bout time” was plenty enough.

Co-Workers: No comments from the most of them.  The ones who I speak to cordially enough have enjoyed my work, will tell me “I don’t get it” when they don’t get it.  We’re from different places, it happens more than one might expect.

My Auntie Rene: Dead honest, I was afraid when she started reacting to my shares of my posts on FB.  I was concerned she wouldn't know how to take me.
Then I remembered "wait, she married the dude who I actually act a lot like in real life," assuaging my concern.  In conversations since, she has offered the encouragement I love to hear and that is why she can be "auntie" as my old ass just passed my 38th birthday.

Friends:   wait…  I need to do this part a bit differently.
     Day ones – These people have been reading since MySpace.  They might not like everything that comes out, but they support me with clicks and shares.
     “Personals” – some of these cats are not the avid readers, but put that aside just to show love.
     Social Media – This is the bulk of my following.  They come in and laugh with me, they argue with me on FB, they disagree with what was written.  The important point is that they’re here.  Steel sharpens steel, I need the back-and-forth to keep my ideas sharp, and the anonymity of friends I have never physically shaken hands with is an important ends to that means.

My significant other: For reasons that should be obvious, she is my most important reader.  Why?  She has the MOST access to me personally.  She knows what I am thinking, has come to appreciate why I create the way I do and – most importantly – can tell me a bare-assed true reason why she didn’t like something and I not take it personally.  She also tries – more importantly WANTS – to pitch in, Tuesday posts were her idea and I am learning to relinquish the reins to her for that reason.  She offers feedback that no one else will or thinks that they can’t.  She also didn’t murder me when I started telling True Story©.
You’ll never learn to appreciate someone like this on your team enough, even if you would sell the moon to a motherfucker who didn’t know it wasn’t yours to sell just to pay her back for her support.

     I say all of that to say this…  My team is the shit and you should work to have the same on yours.  Do not surround yourself with people who live to shit on your ideas, meet your passion with their indifference (note the difference between indifference and non-respondence), or worse still actually write them off as stupid or otherwise useless.  More importantly, DO surround your people who will give you necessary feedback and creative criticism.  Be prepared to hear “ehh…  I didn’t really like […]” and take it without getting your ass on your shoulders.  Use that to show you where to practice next time you touch your keyboard, not to stop sharing your work with JUST that person.
     Your support system should be your motivation.  They are representative of who you create for.  They’re your best mouthpiece and promotional tool too.  That is why you don't want "yes" people, you want HONEST people.  Keeping them entertained keeps your work in circulation at their hands.

I had to learn this one the hard way.


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