Building Your Writing Support Network – Who you need and why

You may not have considered building a writing support network before – but it can make a huge difference to your levels of motivation and your success. But who do you need to have in this support network and why? Here are my recommendations – many of which can be found in your existing circle of friends and business acquaintances.

Why have a writing support network?

Writing is a lonely business for most of us. It’s not often you’re part of a group of writers working on a project, and even if you are, you still have to have the discipline to write your bit. To get past the loneliness factor, you need to find your support crew. A group of people you trust to support you as you embark on this adventure.

When your inner critic kicks in or you feel a dip in motivation, having people to cheer you on is so important. But who will be part of your crew? You might feel embarrassed to share your writing aspirations with people, but I can honestly say I’ve only ever had positive feedback.

If you’re careful with who you select, you’ll know the response you’re likely to receive. Telling your supportive friend who is only going to encourage you and spur you on is very different from telling your cynical neighbour who will just tell you how hard it’s going to be.

You don’t need a team as large as Beyoncé’s either, just a few people you can turn to when you need them. 

So let’s look at who can become part of this motivational support network and why they’re definitely important to have on board.

Who should be part of your writing support network?

If you’re intentional about this, your writing support network can help you get your book done, even when you really don’t feel like it. Scrap that, especially when you don’t feel like it.

So here are the four key people you need to have on board.

  • The Listener 

Someone to listen as you tell them how things are going, asking a few questions here and there to further their understanding, but are purely there as a sounding board.

  • The Bum-Kicker 

A friend who won’t listen to your bullshit. When you tell them you don’t think you’ll ever finish this book or it’s too hard, they’ll tell you to pull your finger out and keep going. All from a place of love, of course!

  • The Cheerleader 

A member of your crew who’ll tell you how brilliant and inspiring you are. Not someone who’s got their head up your arse, but who knows positivity and enthusiasm matter. Someone who’ll buy a copy of your book for all their friends and shout about it from the rooftops.

  • The Wise Owl 

Someone who’s done something challenging before – maybe they’ve even written their own book. They know the highs and lows of challenges. They know the bumpy journey better than anyone. You’d call on them for sound advice and a few tips to get you through.

Is there anyone else?

It would be remiss of me not to mention the role of a writing mentor or book coach – not because it’s what I do, but because I firmly believe it can make all the difference to your book actually crossing the finish line. 

In my honest opinion, a writing mentor needs to be a combination of all of the above. And whereas the four types of supporters listed can be part of your existing circle of friends or acquaintances, a mentor or coach has the unique perspective of not being closely linked to you. They don’t know a lot of your history or backstory and can see things without the emotional attachment of friendship.

Of course, they have to be supportive, kind and good-natured, but they’re not coming at the experience as a close friend would. It’s also great for accountability too – monthly mentoring sessions can help keep your writing on track and give you mini-deadlines in your writing schedule to work towards.


So there you have it – my suggestions for your writing support network. Maybe a couple of people already spring to mind and that’s great. On the other hand, you might not have all of these people in your life, but don’t worry. Sometimes just one or two friends will do. 

The most important thing is to not do this alone if you can help it. Even if you just go for professional support from a writing mentor, that’s better than nothing at all. Or if you just keep an accountability WhatsApp chat with a friend of yours, that’s good too. 

So grab your notebook and jot down a few people you could approach. You’ll be so glad you did.

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