A support system is important when writing a novel- you want to make sure you have strong points throughout so that you can avoid that notorious sagging middle, and to ensure you actually make it all the way to the finish line at the end of your story. But support systems aren’t just for your plot- they are important in real life as well. In your life, you need supporting characters who help you on your writing journey as well.
These ‘supporting characters’ can be anyone really- friends, family, even writing buddies on the NaNoWriMo website; what is really important is that you surround yourself with people who will support you during the times when you maybe aren’t too sure what you are doing and need a little push in the right direction.
So what should you be looking for in your support system?
Obviously you want positive people on your side, but this isn’t to say that your support system should be full of one note ‘yes men’ and mindless cheerleaders- but they should be people who are able to be sensitive enough to you and your work that they know when to be critical, and when to come to your side with a box of tissues and slab of chocolate. Overall they should be encouraging and uplifting; nothing sucks the life, ambition, and creativity out of a room faster than a person who can only see the glass as half full.
Sometimes all you need is a hug because you didn’t get the dishes done, your plot is a mess and your characters seem to have a life of their own that you can’t control. Your support system should include someone who can open their arms and accept you for the mess you have become during this crazy month. How many times have you read book dedications that mention this person? They are your rock, and arguably the most important person in your support system.
Not everyone is going to understand what you are about to undertake. Lots of NaNoers lament at the lack of understanding their family has for the reason you have suddenly decided to become a hermit locked away in your bedroom furiously typing late into the night. Find someone who knows what it is like to follow their dreams- whatever they may be.
With a strong support structure in place in your life, you can then feel free and confident to take risks and experience the excitement of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, knowing that your supporters will be there to catch you.
Who are the key players in your support system? What kinds of valuable support do they provide for you? Let me know what you think, and we can continue the discussion in the comments below!