Gary Chapman wrote the best-selling book The Five Love Languages, detailing how people receive love in five primary ways:
• Gifts – Love expressed through the giving of gifts
• Quality Time – Love expressed by giving someone undivided attention
• Words of Affirmation – Love expressed by using words to build someone up
• Service – Love expressed when actions speak louder than words
• Physical Touch – Love expressed through appropriate touch
What would those five love languages look like for a writer?
You’ve probably seen the “gifts for writers” lists that abound around Christmas-time. A favorite of mine is “Mostly FREE gifts for writers” posted on Edie Melson’s The Write Conversation blog. But writers need love all year-round and there are all sorts of writer-themed gifts:
• Coffee mugs – Maybe one that says: Yes, I am silently correcting your grammar or I’m not daydreaming, I’m plotting
• AquaNotes – A notepad and pencil for writing ideas down in the shower
• Typewriter jewelry or cufflinks – My husband has custom-ordered bracelets to celebrate my books.
• Gift cards - Think Starbucks or Amazon or Etsy.
Quality Time for a writer is not always time spent with someone you love – although it can be that. Quality Time can be when someone you love gives you uninterrupted time with your imaginary characters. Time to write. To rewrite. To plot. To ponder.
Another way love can be expressed by Quality Time? When someone goes for a walk with you and lets you talk story with them.
Words of Affirmation
When someone writes a positive review of one of my books, they are speaking my “author love language” by using Words of Affirmation. Author Cynthia Ruchti says positive reviews are gold to an author. Writing and posting a review takes time – but when you consider it as one of the Five Love Languages of an Writer, you see the true value of your review. And when someone writes a note to an author, telling them how much they enjoy their novels … well, those kind of Words of Affirmation are keepsakes.
How can you help a writer? I’ve had other writers offer to:
• Read a scene or a chapter to see if it’s working or not
• Read over a synopsis
Family and friends have performed Acts of Service while I’ve been on deadline. Things like:
• Making appointments – One friend makes sure my hair appointment gets scheduled. We get our hair cut at the same time.
• Carpooling to volleyball practice/school
• Making dinner
• Running errands
• Cleaning the house
• Doing research – My husband called and asked some research questions for me, allowing me to focus on writing.
Writers need hugs. Sometimes writers need someone to hold their hand and commiserate with them when they’re dealing with disappointment. And you know what? Surprising a writer with a gift card for a professional massage can be a wonderful way to encourage and support them – especially one who just got off deadline.
When you consider the Five Love Languages of an Writer, which one would be your primary love language?