Do read their chapters and say, “I can’t wait to see more! Keep writing!”
Don’t ask, “You’re still working on that? STILL?”
Do offer to listen if they need to talk through a tricky plot problem.
Don’t be offended if they aren’t ready to show you their work.
Don’t accuse them of lying every time they tell a story.
Do say, “I notice you left out some key details and embellished others — what a good storyteller you are!”
Don’t get mad if they disappear into a cave for two or three months at a time.
Do take them out for a celebratory beer when they reappear.
Do find ways of bribing them to get their work done.
Don’t let them trick you into watching an 80s dance movie marathon with them until they’ve written their words for the day.
Do force them to leave the house now and again – and gently suggest they maybe shower and put on actual clothes to do so.
Don’t mention the fact that their sink is full of dirty dishes.
Do go on writing dates with them.
Don’t let them spend the entire writing date gossiping about mutual friends.
Don’t be surprised if you start gossiping about their characters like they’re people you actually know.
Do offer to beat up any agent or editor foolish enough to pass on their manuscript.
Don’t actually beat them up.
Do force everyone you know to buy their books.
Don’t ask, “So how’s your book doing? Is it a best-seller yet?”
Do show up for their book signings and be ready to ask a question if no one else in the audience does.
Don’t pass around baby pictures and brag about how you’ve known them since they were in diapers (no matter how cute you think they are).
Do sneak into bookstores and libraries and push other books aside so your friend’s book is facing forward on the shelf.
Don’t say, “I haven’t read your book yet – but I have it on hold at the library!”
Don’t ask when they’re going to grow up and get a real job.
Do tell them how proud you are of them. Even if they do have a sink full of dirty dishes.
M. Molly Backes
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