Thursday, September 3, 2020

Check on Your Writer Friends

by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

If you spend any time on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen the memes that begin with “Check on your ________ Friends.” 

Check on your extrovert friends. We are not okay.
Check on your friends with toddlers. We are not okay.
Check on your friends with strong-willed daughters. We are not okay.
Check on your friends with curly hair. We look like alpacas.

Most of the time, these memes make us chuckle, nod knowingly, and move on. 

But every now and then you see one that hits closer to home.

Check on your strong friends.
Check on your quiet friends. 
Check on your happy friends.
Check on your creative friends.
Check on each other. 

Your creative friends? There’s a good chance that they are not okay. 

For pre-published writers, this is a particularly tough season. With most conferences going virtual, the opportunities to meet with editors and agents are significantly fewer than in the past. And many writers worry that publishers will be hesitant to take a chance on a debut author during this time of uncertainty. So where does that leave them? Trying to write, trying to keep going, and trying not to lose hope. 

But y’all. It’s hard. 

For published authors, this is an unprecedented experience. While there are some authors who have always written from home and have had few interruptions to their routine, they are the exception, not the rule. Even in the pre-pandemic world, most of us had about 18,000 (give or take a few) responsibilities other than writing. Now, all the systems we had in place to help us get everything done have gone out the window. 

But guess what hasn’t gone away? Our deadlines. 

For all writers, this is a challenging time to create. There’s actual brain science behind this which we won’t get into, but our brains are working hard y’all. So much harder than they were working in January of this year. And all that energy that’s being expended on things that we used to do on autopilot? That energy is no longer available for us to use for our writing. And it’s hard to create when you’re exhausted.

So, may I ask you to do this? Today. Tomorrow. This weekend.

Check on your writer friends. 

Don’t assume we are okay. Make a phone call. Schedule a Zoom. Facetime. Your friends don’t care if you’re wearing makeup or haven’t washed your hair in three days. They need to see you. They need to hear your voice. They need to laugh and commiserate and remember that they aren’t alone. They need to forget about Covid for a few minutes and talk about stories and characters and plot holes. They may need to hear you pray for them—out loud and as in-person as it can be these days. They might need to cry, and they might need you to cry with them. 

And if you’re struggling, please, please, I beg of you, please reach out. 

I can promise you that you’re not alone. While I’m sure there are plenty of people who are just fine, I think there are way more of us who are hanging on by a fraying thread. 

I recently (as in this week) had a bad day. There was no specific thing wrong, but everything was wrong. I was blinking back tears, slamming drawers, and fighting a very deep desire to numb out. But, did I mention deadlines? My deadlines don’t care.

So, I sent a text to a couple of friends and told them I was in a funk. At this point, they could have gone with, “Oh no. Sorry! Hope you feel better soon.” Or, the ever popular, “Praying!” That would have been helpful, especially if they actually prayed instead of just saying they would.

But they went further and asked some discerning questions. Things like “can you figure out what has triggered this” and “can you do something to make you laugh” and then they made me laugh with funny stories—the kind of stuff that you only share with close friends and that leave you laughing so hard you cry over something no one else would think was funny. 

As the afternoon progressed into the night and the text stream continued, I realized that while all the things that had stressed me out were still there, but I no longer felt like a hippo had camped on my chest. Twenty-four hours and too many texts to count later, when one friend said, “So, Lynn, do you feel better?” I realized that I had mostly forgotten about the malaise that had gripped me the day before. 

And now I can create. (Which is good, because did I mention the deadlines?) :) 

Check on your writer friends. They are struggling.
Check on your writer friends. They need to know they aren’t alone.
Check on your writer friends. The world needs their creativity.

Grace and peace,


Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Her Dive Team Investigations series kicked off in 2018 with Beneath the Surface and In Too Deep (A SIBA Okra pick and Selah Award Finalist). The 3rd book in the series, One Final Breath, released September 2019 and is a 2020 Selah Award and a 2020 Faith Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She is also the author of Hidden Legacy and Covert Justice, which won the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel and the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after at and @LynnHBlackburn on BookbubFacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


  1. Yes, yes, please check on your writer friends. :-)

  2. I love this, Lynn. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh, Lynn, you are so right! Even though many of us are isolationists by nature, it gets overwhelming when isolation becomes involuntary.

  4. Lynn, thank you for this article! Introversion and near isolation are completely different; it's been a struggle. I know my creativity has taken a hit.


  5. As an author who just (June 1, 2020) published my first book as I'm battling health problems this is personal for me. The solitude isn't bad or unusual except I look back and wonder when did I become a recluse? Oh, yeah, about ten years ago when my health began to slide, and now I'm barely treading water. My marketing plan is non-existent because it's based on how I feel daily, and this covid thing has libraries etc. closed. Adjusting to a new level of (self) incompetence is difficult—I've always been a self-starter, have everything under control and ever busy person but that's not me now. I'm relearning how to maybe sit back and just let God take care of things. It was a real shock to me when I realized I'd lost control of the least I still have most of a good sense of humor. Sigh Donevy

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I've also had days like this but without the deadlines :(
    I am not published yet and still a work in progress. I do agree and see it in many of my writer friends too. This is a battle. We need to stay connected. Blessings,
    Jeanne from Inspiring Souls

  7. Thank you, Lynn! I went through about a 6-week funk, and as an introvert, you'd think I would be in hog-heaven. I finally had to tell some friends, because we weren't together like we usually would be, and it worked! This is a great message for all of us!

  8. Awesome! This is a perfect blog. Thank you for the thoughtful advice. I will do it!