Who is with you in the fire? A few days ago an Internet meme crossed my Facebook feed. It read, "Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? God didn't put out the fire. He put Jesus in the fire with them. Life is not about God putting out your fires, but about His being there with you in the midst of them."
Who is with you in the fire? Who supports you, encourages you, shields you from critics and haters? Who stands by you through good times and bad? Whether you're religious or spiritual or not, we all need someone who believes in us whether we're successful or not, struggling or not, flush or not.
Businessman Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, created a great metaphor when he asked, "Who is on the bus with you?" He was comparing a business to a bus, and the leader to the driver. Most people, he explains, assume that great bus drivers (leaders) immediately start their journey by announcing to the people on the bus where the bus is going. Apparently great leaders (drivers) do things differently. They don't start with "where" they're going, but "who" they're going there with. They get the wrong people off of their bus, put the right people on the bus and make sure everyone is in the right seat. They stick with that process no matter what - people first, then direction.
We, as writers, need to do the same. Get the right people on the bus. Know who's going to stand by you in the fire - physical or spiritual. First "who," then "what."
Metaphors aside, the point is, we ALL need others - no matter how strongly we believe we can do it alone. That person might be an editor, a spouse, a family member, a classmate, a coach, even a stranger you meet at a conference. But without feedback, support, encouragement and friendship, it's hard to succeed as a writer, or anything else. If you have people in your life who support you, take time to thank them. You'll never know how valuable they are until they're gone. If you don't have someone in your life who is there for you - join a meetup group, a Facebook group, a writer's group, a church or synagogue or Mosque. Take a class, join a gym, but do something to find someone who will be with you in the fire. They don't have to be a writer, but they do have to respect you and your writing.
When we don't stand alone, it's so much easier to stand at all.
Consistency Matters More Than Talent
You don't have to be talented to succeed. You do need to be consistent.