My support system is made up of people from several different categories.
As a memoirist, my writing process has involved a lot of painful revisiting of unhappy memories combined with absolute terror over people actually reading it. Luckily, there is a wonderful Facebook Binders group of women memoirists that is filled with other women on the same journey. There is always someone around to vent to, or to provide reassurance that my story matters and that I will actually live through this process. The already published writers are always willing to help out those of us who haven’t crossed the great publishing divide, and I’m eternally grateful for them. Every blurb I have (so far anyway) was written by a woman, and I think that is one advantage of being female—we can really pull together and buoy each other up.
My fellow Debs are going through this publishing experience concurrently, and are an excellent group to vent to, and previous Debs are always willing to chime in with advice. I was never part of any sort of sorority, and for the first time, I’m experiencing the benefits of belonging to a group of women that I didn’t pick individually, but rather categorically.
I rely on my friends that have already read an advance copy of my memoir to reassure me that I didn’t come across badly. I have a small group of women willing to answer a needy and anxious message from me at odd hours, and my range of friends means that someone is generally up no matter what time it is. Because they know me IRL, they know what triggers and obstacles I face that are unique to me and my family.
Speaking of Family:
I have my SigO, who not only reassures me often, but also is cheerful about being dragged to literary events and/or watching the children while I attend literary events. Every time I ask if I should so something, he always says, “yes” no matter how inconvenient.
I have to give a nod to my ex-husband who has taken vacation days for me to go first to grad school, and then afterwards for an occasional conference.
And my brother and sister are always fiercely supportive of me as well.
All of the above are to be expected. Writers, friends, family. No surprises. But I have a very new and very secret support system. When the world is too stressful, too anxiety-producing, or just too much I dive inside my new story. It’s so new and dear to me that I am reluctant to talk about it. Every night lately, I read my children my latest chapter. Every morning, before checking the news or popping onto social media I try to add a few more paragraphs. When I can’t sleep, I think about my characters, their world, their problems. This very new, very unexpected story has come to live inside me just when I needed distracting the most.