Last week we got the chance to talk about some of the faux-pas writers have encountered with their friends in the past. It probably left you with some questions about what exactly could you do if you didn't want to offend your friends? Here's some ideas!
1. Ask About Their Work
As I said last week, there a some questions you definitely shouldn't ask. Look back to see what some of those may be. There are ways that you can show your interest in their work that doesn't embarrass them. For example, you can ask how they came up with the idea for their story. You can ask what their favorite part is. Knowing that someone is genuinely interested in what you do can be a great encouragement.
2. Ask Questions
You don't have to just ask questions about what their working on. Ask what they think of certain books that are popular now. Ask about the craft - characters, setting, description, etc. If you don't understand something, just ask. Doesn't it make you feel good when someone asks questions about what you do for a living and makes you feel like an expert?
3. Encourage Them To Write
Tell them that you're excited about their project. Don't pressure them to share it with you as soon as possible. A good way to phrase this may be "I'd love to read this whenever you're ready to share." or "Once you're finished, I'd be happy to offer feedback." Other ways you can encourage them if you're not interested or unable to read their work is to provide them the right environment to write. Ask them to come to a coffee shop with you while you both work, or suggest a trip to the library.
4. Buy Their Books
If your friend is a published author, buy their books. If they offer a free copy, don't feel like you must decline, but buy a copy for a friend or family member. Remember, this is their living and the best way you can support them is to buy their product. If they're not published yet, consider buying them books for gifts and holidays. A sizable library is expensive but also a great resource for writers. A thoughtful and supportive gift would be an addition for it.
5. Give Honest and Constructive Feedback
If a writer shares their work with you, it's polite to give them some feedback. Sometimes you'll like what you've read and sometimes you won't. If you don't like it, that is just as helpful for a writer as knowing that you did. Saying "Yes, I loved it." when you know there are problems, will create false hope that could get dashed later on. A constructive response would be "There are great things about this piece but here are a couple of things that could help." If you're looking for other friendly ways to get negative feedback, there are lots of resources on google.