Who’s got your six?

Recently, I got very down. This happens. I get depressed sometimes when we run out of milk. This time, however, I got depressed because writing began to seem futile.

Let me clarify…writing is like breathing…sharing it seemed futile. But something happened. Something that needs to happen for all of us. A lot of people bitch-slapped me verbally…some threatened actual physical harm.

I got to thinking about all that is involved in being an Indie writer. I won’t lie. Part of me yearns for the days when I had a regular paycheck and good insurance and my friend Pat liked my stories a lot. I hate promoting. But promotion has an interesting fallout effect. It works – we hope, but more importantly, it builds community.

I know that I can email any of the hundreds of great and supportive writers I have met since I started this game. I know they will understand because they are either in the same place or have  been. They know. And, sometimes, I’m the one giving the pep talks. Sometimes, I’m not. If the white coats ever find the emails between me and Antrobus, we are going to have to find a large Native American gentleman or we are screwed.

My brother recently said that I ‘feel more feelings’ than most people. That describes a LOT of the writers I know. I suppose it is necessary. Happy, well-adjusted writers are like short basketball players. Few and far between. If you want to write about humans honestly, you need your finger on the pulse. Sometimes that leaves you feeling like you’ve been stuffed full of emotion and left out in the sun.

In a way, this is a thank you note (you kids know who you are). Moreover, it is advice. I hate the word ‘networking’ so I am going to call it ‘making friends’. I have a lot of great writer friends. And it is fun to shoot the shit with them, but it is invaluable to be able to reach out when necessary and be heard. Hell, usually I don’t even have to reach out. They know.

Writing can be the most exhilarating and exciting thing I do. It can also get really lonely. But you lean. I lean on my family and my friends and, sometimes, it is as simple as support. Sometimes it reaches farther down into the depths of ‘don’t stop you pansy idiot’. We all need validation and since massive sales and yachts are just a pipe dream right now, it sure is nice to have the people you love tell you that you need to carry on.

My support group is honest. Sometimes, painfully so. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes I need someone to tell me that my story is getting off track. Sometimes I need to be told that my writing means something. And sometimes you can substitute the word ‘life’ for ‘story’ and ‘writing’ in those preceding sentences.

Writers take on an interesting challenge. We shout into the wind and know that, oftentimes, no one will hear us. But we must continue to shout. And I know that, no matter what, there are a handful of people who will always hear me…and possibly wait with lead-dipped bats to break my knees if I start feeling too sorry for myself.

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JD Mader is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of the novels ‘Joe Cafe’ and ‘The Biker’ – co-author of the mighty ‘Bad Book’ (available here). For more information, please see the IU Bio page and his blog: www.jdmader.com.

Author: JD Mader

JD Mader is an award winning short story writer and novelist. 'Joe Café' and 'The Biker' are out now, as well as 'Please, no eyes'. and the collaborative 'Bad Book'. Mader has been writing for half his life and has no plans on stopping any time soon. Learn more about JD Mader at his blog and his Amazon author page.

58 thoughts on “Who’s got your six?”

  1. Well said Dan. Hope you consider me one of those friends you made and know you can lean if you need to. I'm learning to lean a bit, too. That's hard for me as someone who had to survive, emotionally, by learning not to. I did survive. Now I am learning to live – by learning to ask for what I need, to lean.

    And I truly think you are one kick-ass writer. We need what you have to say.

  2. Great post. It's lovely to know you have such great friends who will support each other when needed. I always enjoy your writing. You are extremely talented. I'm starting Bad Book tonight as it happens. I can only keep up with yours and others works via these posts as I'm not on Facebook any more. Look forward to the next one. 🙂

  3. Thanks for this moment. I was in a slump prior to reading your message. I can relate to missing a regular paycheck with insurance. But assurance works just as well. Writing may not be a normal way of life, but it's our life. Blessings to you.

  4. Nice post. Writers do feel emotion more strongly, it's in our job description. It's difficult to not let them get us down. I'm learning with you.

  5. Was that an obscure One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest reference in there? Remember what the Chief's final supportive act for Murphy was? Well, in institutions like in politics and life, pillow talk is a powerful influence.

    Greet post, Dan. Bloody oath.

    1. You must feel better now, JD.

      Wagons in a circle, here. Mutual support is rarely this open and heartfelt.

      Angst goes hand in hand the inner demons of writing. I don't think there's any way around that. Reading journals and letters by authors who inspired you is always a good reminder. Having an intimate connection with other authors is essential to our sanity. Without the internet, we'd have to form colonies.

      My question echoes Ed's. The large Native American Gentleman and the white coats were not references to Cuckoo's Nest?

    1. Thanks y'all. Yeah, sorry, I thought the cuckoos nest pic was more clear. Big Native American guy blasts through a window. Forgot the mercy killing by pillow part.

  6. Great article! I tend to have some of those moments myself every now and then, but then my wife tells me to suck it up…and that usually works 🙂

  7. Hey JD, You can always count on me to be there for support. And, as an aside, isn't time you came on the BTR show with me? Just send me a message via FB!


  8. Good post, Dan. Support is like food – it keeps us going. It's a good feeling to know others are standing with us through it all. As to writers feeling things more, I think we would all be in trouble if we didn't. Unless perhaps we are writing manuals for some piece of mechanical equipment. 🙂

  9. All I can say is -hugs-. I wouldn't survive without my online friends.

    I know you won't stop writing but don't you dare stop publishing! I'm new to the Mader fan club and I don't own a baseball bat but I promise to buy one if you ever need it. 😀

  10. Well JD, if you don't feel supported and cheered up by now, then there's no hope! These are the most comments I've seen on a blog! Mr popular. I think the baseball bats are a bit too much as a therapy statagy, but maybe a bitch slap here and there might do you some good. 😉

  11. Yeah. Definitely. Still surprised at times by who all 'has my six'. That's a good thing, though.

  12. Brother,

    Another great post. You're a spokesman for so many, and you know damn well what I think about your writing.

    You wanna think about not publishing?

    *Slaps end of large basball bat in palm of hand*

    Are you SURE you wanna think about not publishing?


  13. Great post, JD. Wondered where you had gotten off to. Glad to see you back. We all need to learn to lean, thankful for online fellow writers for without them, I wouldn't have any one to lean on.

  14. Fantastic post as always. One of the hardest things for many writers is reaching out to their online support network especially if their family and real-life friends are not supportive. You have a great online family don't forget to reach out to us when you need us. You'd hate to make us track you down and take drastic matters. Keep on writing and publishing the world would be harder to face without you there making me laugh.

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