How Authors can Build a Support System

Being an author can be a solitary and stressful existence. There are long periods of struggling with setback and adversity. To compound matters, a disproportionate number of authors are introverts and/or recluses to begin with

It’s imperative, for you as an Author, that you build a Support System. A good support system will skyrocket your chances of success and help you maintain your sanity

Ideally, you want multiple layers of Support and multiple people in each layer. At the minimum have a two level Support system with at least 3 total people across the two levels

First Level of Support – Spouse

  1. If you’re married, then put effort into your marriage. It will be critical to helping you succeed as an author
  2. If you’re single, and find the right person, then marriage is a very good and almost necessary option. Doing the author thing single is incredibly hard. It also sucks when there is no one to share the highs with
  3. If you’re single and can’t find the right person. Don’t worry about it

Second Level of Support – Close Family

  1. If you do not have very strong relationships with close family members, prioritize this.  It is necessary in the long run
  2. If you have good relationships with your close family members, then make sure you keep them strong. If possible, make them stronger
  3. If you have major issues with close family members, while it is very good for your writing (poets need the pain), in the long run it will kill you and your career. So try and mend things
  4. If you have a lot of close family and the time commitments become too much, figure out some way to stay in touch regularly while still keeping your time free for writing and work
  5. If you are not married, then make sure to keep close family relationships very very strong

You absolutely need some incredibly strong relationships. Marriage and Close Family are two of the best sources for creating very strong relationships

Third Level of Support – Close Friends

The sad truth is that you will lose many of your close friends as you go deeper and deeper into your writing

  1. Make sure you maintain some strong relationships – some close friendships which are true friendships
  2. Ideal are childhood or college friends who have been with you for decades
  3. Also ideal are ‘best friend’ type relationships where the strength of the bond is very, very strong

You absolutely have to make sure you have some very good and very close friends. You have to invest into the relationship

One very good true friend can help you get through a lot of tough times. So make sure you do your part too (i.e. be a true friend to them)

Fourth Level of Support – Close Author Friends OR a Master Mind Group

This is very tricky

Our natural inclination is to want to have working friendships with

  1. Authors who talk a lot
  2. Authors and People who promise shortcuts
  3. Authors who are already popular and love chit chatting with others

What we should really focus on are

  1. Authors who don’t talk much
  2. Authors who focus on doing the right thing, and don’t look for shortcuts
  3. Authors who tend to stick to themselves and focus on their writing

Find authors who are very serious about succeeding as an author, and form close friendships with them

Then take the next step and form a Master Mind Group – a group whose entire focus is for its members to succeed

Most public forums are focused on ‘how to feel good about not succeeding’. Instead, you need to have a Master Mind Group which is committed to succeeding and finding solutions instead of ‘feel good’ excuses

Fifth Level of Support – Friends

You are not going to have very many friends. It is best to focus on some very close and very strong friendships, and avoid having ‘run across each other once in a blue moon’ type friendships

If the friends are not true friends then they cannot provide you much support

We don’t want to mislead you and pretend that having 100 ‘friends’ that you meet once a month are going to be a Support System. They are not

Please Note: From a Business perspective it would really help to have lots of contacts you keep in touch with. However, do not consider them your Support System

Sixth Level of Support – Extended Family

Extended Family is interesting

Sometimes we have people in our Extended Family, with whom we get along very well. These have the potential to become both ‘family’ and ‘very good friends’

These can be very strong bonds

If you can develop 1 to 3 such relationships, that can really help your overall Support System

People not to Build into Your Support System

  1. Anyone who does not have time for you, regardless of how successful or famous they are
  2. Anyone who brings drama with them
  3. Fair weather friends
  4. People who have lots of problems in their life. If this person was a true friend to you in the past, then it’s fine. Otherwise be very wary of people who always have a sob story
  5. Energy Vampires & Negative People
  6. People who always have excuses and always focus on excuses
  7. People who make you feel – It is OK to fail. It is OK to not try to succeed
  8. People who have disappointed you in the past. People do not change
  9. People who are untrustworthy. Again, people do not change

It is very, very important to pick your Support System carefully. It is better to have a small Support System with no problem makers, than to have a large one with a problem maker who tears down all the benefits single handedly

What a Very Strong Support System Looks Like

A very strong Support System is

  1. 4 Levels of Support
  2. All 3 of the Critical Levels
    1. All 3 of Spouse, Close Family, and Close Friends must be very strong
  3. 1 or 2 people at each Level

Please Note: From a Support System perspective, having close Author Friends or being in an Author Mastermind is not necessary. However, it is necessary if you want to increase your chances of success. It is a very valuable level in that it can provide two functions – Emotional Support; Increasing Your Chances of Success

What a Decently Strong Support system Looks Like

A decently strong Support System is

  1. 3 Levels of Support
    1. Ideally 2 out of Spouse, Close Family, Close Friends
    2. 1 Additional Level
  2. 1 or 2 People at each Level

This will take focused time and effort and it is important to keep a few hours every weekend for this, and perhaps even one weekend a month

In addition, if you are married and/or have kids, then make sure to give 2 to 4 hours each day to family time

Bare Minimum Support System

You absolutely have to have at least the Bare Minimum Support System

  1. 2 Levels of Support
    1. At least 1 Level out of Spouse, Close Family, Close Friends
    2. 1 Additional Level
  2. 3 total people

Less than this and you won’t have people to help you through tough times

You also have to be a good friend/family member yourself. The best way to do this is designate one or two days a week as ‘family time’ or ‘people time’

If you’re married or in a committed relationship, or have kids, then in addition to family days, you need to have 2 to 3 hours each day as ‘family time’

How to Avoid Letting Stress and Work Ups and Downs Affect Your Relationships

You have to constantly keep in mind that this ecosystem (Publishing and Writing) has three very unique and unhealthy characteristics

  1. There are a lots of ups and downs. Imagine if a hospital had no patients for 6 months and then three times the normal number of patients for the next 3 months. Every doctor and nurse would freak out. For Authors and Publishers, these sorts of ups and downs are just Business as Usual
  2. The percentage of failures is very high. Both in terms of the percentage of authors who don’t succeed. And in terms of the percentage of books that don’t succeed
  3. New large companies that are very predatory in nature. As opposed to Publishers of the past who would share their spoils, most large new companies on the Internet have the attitude of ‘keep everyone small, so they can stay big themselves’. So you will find the paradoxical situation that who you thought were your partners are trying to prevent you from gaining self reliance and constantly pulling you down
    1. Publishers were happy to get their share and give authors their share
    2. New large companies want authors to basically work for very cheap or free. It is only people who are completely clueless who are not connecting the dots. New Large Companies are attempting to commoditize writing and marginalize authors and writers (who, naively, are helping them do it)

You have to compartmentalize and make sure you don’t ‘punish’ your loved ones and friends for the pains that the ecosystem is inflicting upon you

You must have a complete separate ‘Author/Publisher Compartment’ and keep all your worries and stress in there. Work must stay at work (even if ‘work’ is your home office)

When dealing with your family and friends be in the ‘Life is Beautiful’ compartment. Life is Beautiful is only possible if you keep your Support System strong and avoid problem creators

A Few Warnings if you are jumping into being an author full time

Being an author full time means

  1. If you do not have a strong marriage you will most likely end up divorced
  2. If you do not have a strong relationship you will probably end up single
  3. If you are single you are unlikely to have the time, or be in the right state of mind, to find love
  4. You will lose ALL your fair weather friends
  5. You will lose some of your true friends too

While this is true for any profession when you succeed, writing books is very unique in that this happens to both people who are successful and those who are not


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