Support Your Local Poet: Or the Importance of Supportive Friends In Your Writing Life

In the Artist Way they have a name for people you tell your best ideas and they are either unsupportive, doubtful, or just Debbie Downers on the subject-- The Wet Blankets.

The Wet Blankets is not a rock group, but are the people in your life who bring you down, who point out what's wrong with what you are creating, what you have created, how they would never do such a thing.  

They ask if you're qualified, they raise their eyebrows in that concerned look, they shake their heads.

They are the takers of energy, faith, and confidence.

And you've got to watch out for them!


When I feel that someone in my life is becoming a wet blanket, the first thing I do is stop sharing my projects with them.  If they get worse, or I lose too much trust in them, I start adding distance to our lives. 

I have been known to burn bridges, just to stop the crazy people from following me home.  

When I have a friendship with someone, the only thing I ask is that the friend wants the best for me, 
(as that is what I offer to my friendships-- I'm only friends with people I want the best for.)

When I feel someone doesn't or no longer want the best for me, I move away.

I admit, I should have the talk before moving away, but I hate "the talk."  With really good friends, I'll have the "the talk," but with more peripheral friends, I tend to just disappear or disconnect.

The people you keep around you should be your cheerleaders and ladders, they should hold you up.  

They should be people with whom you can share your deepest fears, insecurities, weaknesses, crazy thoughts, mistakes, weirdnesses, and all your creative ideas without fearing that they will judge you or bring you down.

My group of friends right now are these people. I can confide in them.  

I tell them the things that make me feel as if I'm alone and they tell me I'm not alone.


Getting to a point like this took awhile.  

There were friends I invited over only to realize I could never invite them back into my home because of how they made me feel, or maybe not how they made me feel, but how I felt.

It can be hard to find your tribe.

You have to risk something.  You have to ask them to hold your heart and hope they don't drop it.

But it's worth the risk.  They are worth the find.


Today to finish off my support your local poet post, I'm going to share some things that are happening in other poet's lives that should be cheered and celebrated.

Celebrate this--

Martha Silano's new book: RECKLESS LOVELY is available on pre-order!

Help Jeannine Hall Gailey's book UNEXPLAINED FEVERS by voting for it on GoodReads!  And she was on Reddit! doing "Ask Me Anything"

Julie Brooks Barbour has a beautiful meditation poem on anxiety at Sundog here.

Wendy Wisner's amazing book about motherhood and life MORPH AND BLOOM is out!

Matthew Thorburn's new book EVERY POSSIBLE BLUE about love & city life is out (gorgeous cover too!) 

Daniel Nester edited a new book, THE INCREDIBLE SESTINA ANTHOLOGY, and Daniel Nester is just awesome in general.

Renee Saklikar (an amazing Canadian poet) has a new book called Children of air india: un/authorized exhibits and interjections and here's an article about it.

* * * *

What's your good news for the week?

~ Kells 

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  1. What a wonderful post! I admire your honesty, and so many people will connect and feel supported and understood. What sweet pix, too, and what sweet generosity.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I am very appreciative of the local writers who have become an important component of my world.

  3. Thanks for your message, so true, and your shout-out - and guess what? Unexplained Fevers is now on the semifinals page this round! Thanks again!

  4. Good post about the wet blankets. I notice that a lot of us who are creative also struggle with depression--which isn't the same thing as being a wet blanket, but, can also be a kind of negative force field that spreads. How do poets support one another when we recognize this darkness in a peer? Or should we run? ~Nancy

  5. Yay, sestinas! But just a heads-up--your link leads to Matthew's book. Still, yay, sestinas! That there is the Good Kind of Crazy of the formal poetry world. Thank you for giving it a shout-out!


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