Friday, September 15, 2023

Six Reasons Writers Need Friends Who Are Writers

by Crystal Bowman

Last month I spent four wonderful and amazing days at the AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) conference. I was reminded once again how important and rewarding it is to have friends and acquaintances who are also writers. Here are six good reasons why writers need friends who are writers:

Why Writers Need Writer Friends

#1 They understand the complex world of writing and publishing. 
When I tell nonwriters that I am an author, they respond with comments like, “Oh, what a fun job!” or “Must be nice to get those royalty checks!” or “What have you written?” 
Writers agree that writing is fun, but fun does not mean easy. I have spent days trying to revise one or two sentences. Writing, revising, and editing is tedious work. As far as royalty checks—a writer is never sure if it will be something substantial or not enough to buy a few groceries. And since there are billions of books out there, the chances of someone recognizing one of my titles is slim. Writers understand this!

#2 They spend many hours alone.
Some writers are introverts who write from a cozy spot in their home, and some are extroverts who bring their laptops to a noisy coffee shop. But regardless of where writers write, they cocoon into their personal space and focus for hours on their project---alone. One time a mom asked if her 12-year-old daughter could job-shadow me for the summer. She said her daughter could do the “grunt work” that would allow me more time to write. The mom’s heart was in a good place, but she had no clue that writers write alone and there is no grunt work for a twelve-year-old girl. Writing is lonely—that’s why we need writer friends who get it. 

#3 They critique each other’s work and give helpful feedback.
Many writers belong to critique groups where they can share the stories they are working on and receive honest (and sometimes brutal) feedback to help them improve their stories. Asking a friend or relative who is not a writer to read your story may not be helpful because they don’t know what to look for. They will tell you it’s wonderful because they don’t want to offend you. They don’t understand that writers have thick skin. 

#4 They rejoice together. 
On the last day of the AWSA conference, the Golden Scroll banquet was a time to award and recognize writers whose books and articles were selected by their peers to be works of excellence. When a writer’s name was called to receive an award, the audience clapped and cheered, even if their own books didn’t win. Why? Because writers know how hard it is to get published. They know how hard it is to market their books. And they know how hard it is to be recognized in a sea of published works. 

#5 They comfort and encourage one another.
I recently had a friend reach out to me in discouragement because the publishing company that published her picture book was going out of business and her book would soon go out of print. She was just getting started in her writing career and felt defeated. I told her how sorry I was and that I understood her feelings because I had a similar experience years ago. I gave her some tips on what to do next and tried to encourage her as best I could. 

#6 They have their own language.
The publishing industry has words that writers understand but often need to be explained when used with nonwriters such as: pub board, advance, work-for-hire, copy editing, substantive editing, developmental editing, indie publishing, hybrid publishing, acquisitions, and galleys. And then there are the abbreviations: fm, bm, ms, and arc—just to name a few. It’s nice to have conversations with other writers so we can freely use these terms without explaining them. 

I consider it a privilege and honor to be a writer. I am humbled that God placed me in the world of publishing and has guided and blessed my writing journey for more than 30 years. And the friends I have made along the way are friends I will cherish forever—because we need each other! 

Join the conversation—how do you benefit from having friends who are writers? 

Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children and four nonfiction books for women. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She loves going to schools to teach kids about poetry. She also speaks at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. When she is not writing or speaking, she enjoys going for walks, working out at the gym, and eating ice cream. She and her husband live in Michigan and have seven huggable grandkids. 


  1. I enjoyed reading, Crystal’s, article. I remember thinking the same thoughts as those she described, who were not writers, and did not understand the industry. I am happy to be included in this wonderful group of AWSA women, and extremely happy to call Crystal, my friend!

  2. AWSA is a huge blessing to me, and I love my ASWA sisters! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Aren't those points all true of Christians? It's why we need not forsake meeting together and encouraging each other.

  4. Yes to all of these--especially the writing friends. No one else understands this crazy business (and slightly crazy writers) like fellow writers. :)