Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Writer Shouldn’t Write Alone

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

When I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference with about 500 other writers, I had a blast. I felt I was with my peeps. Edie jokes that it’s when we’re with other writers that we can most feel that we are understood.

Normal people, non-writers, might worry a little when they hear us talk about the voices in our heads. When we get giddy about discovering a new word. When we talk about mixing genres.

Normal people, non-writers, don’t understand how we can spend hours at our keypads. Why receiving the latest edition of a writing magazine means we’ll spend the rest of the evening holed up in our favorite reading chair.

Writers are assumed to be solitary individuals, but that isn’t true. We just have to find the right group or tribe. 

Four People Every Writer Needs 

1. A Role Model
A writer needs someone to look up to who has or is doing what he or she hopes to accomplish. It’s easy to think that writing is just a dream. Nobody is going to want to read what you write. And they sure aren’t going to pay for it.

All writers live in New York with fancy degrees from important colleges. They live in expensive penthouses, driving imported cars, and have trust funds. And I don’t fit.

Sound familiar?

When I starting writing, I wondered if someone really could write for a living? Or have their writing published and read?

So I joined a local writers group. And lo and behold, we had published writers and successful bloggers there who lived just down the street from me. Real people driving clunkers and with kids in school, parents needing care.

It doesn’t have to be just a dream.

2. A Peer
When you run into something difficult, it’s easy to think that you are the only one who has ever experienced it. That’s why we like to turn to others who are in the same boat. This is especially true for writers. Whether they’re called accountability partners or critique group members, it’s nice to know that you aren’t the only one getting those rejection letters. To know that they cried at the scene that was so important in your short story.

Peers can encourage you when you’re getting overwhelmed with advice on the social media that you MUST have. They can give you that kick in the pants when you decide that writing is just too tough and you can’t keep going.

And they will celebrate with you when the dream becomes reality.

3. A Fan/Reader
A writer spends so much time staring at the screen or piece of paper. They know what they are trying to say, but is it coming across to the reader? And does anyone else feel the same way, ask the same questions, have the same problems?

So, you find yourself sitting at a table or standing in line, and someone you’ve never seen rushes up and nervously says, “I read your story and it really spoke to me. You’re a good writer.”

You’re torn between “Aw shucks. It was nothing” and “Did you really like it? What did you think about . . .”

And you can’t wait to get back to that empty screen.

4. A New Writer
Every year I am amazed at how many new writers attend the conference. I was fortunate to sit with several at the dinner tables and I always ask about their writing. It is easy to become jaded as a writer at the struggles and hurdles you face when you try to get published. Comparing yourself to other writers you know and seeing how short you are from your goal.

  • Then you talk to a new writer, a newbie. And you are reminded of the enthusiasm you started with. “You spoke to an agent?” 
  • “You’re writing a book?” 
  • “You were in what magazine?”

They remind us of our dreams. Of how far we’ve come, and the joy that we find in the journey. 

I guess that’s the key, seeing writing as a journey. You can lock the door and write all by yourself, but why would you want to? The journey is so much more valuable, and enjoyable, when you travel it with others.

A writer shouldn't write alone - thoughts from @TimSuddeth on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Four people every writer needs - @TimSuddeth on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Tim Suddeth has been published in Guideposts’ The Joy of Christmas and on He’s working on his third manuscript and looks forward to seeing his name on a cover. He is a member of ACFW and Cross n Pens. Tim’s lives in Greenville, SC with his wife, Vickie, and his happy 19-year-old autistic son, Madison.  Visit Tim at and on Facebook and Twitter. He can be also reached at


  1. Could not agree more Mr. Tim. I am blessed to have each of these four in my life; and my writing is so much better for it. As for sitting down to write alone, I have to say that is something that happens seldom. When it does, I stop clacking away at keys, bow my head, and ask God to come closer and be my writing partner. Perhaps I'm just a little bit nuts (well, most would say far more), but I find myself carrying on a conversation with the Holy Spirit as I draft, re-draft, and re-word things I've just written. God's blessings for this important lesson sir.

    1. Thank you. Your writing time sounds very special.

  2. Thank you for this article. It has been encouraging for the days I feel like I'm slogging through the journey alone. And the bowing of the head, Jim, is a good remind as well.