Saturday, March 12, 2016

The 5 Love Languages for Writers

By Jean Kavich Bloom

At present, my primary calling is to work with authors as an editor. Yet I do identify with the task of every writer: effectively building bridges to readers. Though writing books is, if ever, most likely in my future, I do write—for clients, for blogs, and for myself. 

I know how it feels when encouragement is hard to come by, when the words won’t come, when giving up seems like an option (but isn’t). When the thought I have no talent and why doesn’t God just send someone to tell me the truth so I can move on? rumbles while staring at a blank page. Or at the kind of draft Anne Lamont says is a given.

This morning I reread my last post for this blog, “Authors Need Love Too,” and soon found myself channeling Tina Turner. (Yes, I have an inner Tina Turner!) As I imagined her singing "What's Love Got to Do with It?" I thought about Gary Chapman’s best-selling book The 5 Love Languages.

Though developed for the marriage relationship, this concept has been made applicable to other relationships as well. Perhaps we can apply it to writers. The five love languages are
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

Now, let's think this through. As a writer, does a thumbs-up or “Good job!” help to make your best work feel like your best work? Does having (or the thought of having) a trusted writing or critique partner give you constructive feedback seem like heaven? Do you feel affirmed when someone sends you a meme or gift specifically for writers? 

What about when a loved one gives you the sacrificial gift of uninterrupted time to write? Do you crave appropriate physical connection with other writers in the form of a handshake, an understanding pat on the arm (or on your actual back!), or even a hug, perhaps at a writers’ conference or in a group of writing peers?

No aspiring writer wants to end up with Tina's giving-up, settling-for-less lament, "Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?" Maybe the struggles, doubts, and disappointments that threaten us can be lessened if we recognize the heart encouragement most likely to keep us going. 

What’s your writer-ly love language? Can you use that knowledge to seek the support you need? Do those closest to you know what it is? (I confess many in my life probably don't, because I haven't told them.)

Perhaps these questions, because God calls us to be other-centered, are also important to consider: Do we know the love languages of fellow writers we are positioned to support and influence? Can we use that information to more actively build bridges, not just writer to reader, but writer to writer? 

Jean Kavich Bloom is a freelance editor and writer (Bloom in Words Editorial Services). Her personal blog is Bloom in Words too, where she sometimes posts articles about the writing life. She is also one of many contributors to a new blog for women, The Glorious Table. Her published books are Bible Promises for God's Precious Princess and Bible Promises for God's Treasured Boy. She and her husband, Cal, have three children and five grandchildren.

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