Make a circular graph. (Don’t worry, there’s no math involved, I promise. I’m a writer, not a mathematician.) First, draw a big circle that fills up a full page. Then draw two more circles of decreasing size so that you have what looks like a rudimentary bull’s-eye.
Fill in names of people closest to you, or with whom you have to interact frequently, in the various circles. Write the names of your Creative Support Team in the innermost circle. In the next ring, write the names of “safe people”–those who do not steal energy from your creative self. In the next ring, write the names of people who you might call unreliable–sometimes they steal time, sometimes they don’t, so you aren’t going to label them “safe.” And finally, outside the circle, put those who steal your time, energy, or worse.
The point of this exercise isn’t to shame anyone, and I certainly don’t think you should share this with the people you’ve listed. But this chart will give you a good look at who supports and who detracts from your writing practice. It’s a real examination of the people you need to keep further from your writing practice and those you know you can bring close. If you have made a date to write in the afternoon and an “unreliable” or “uncertain” friend wants to pop in for an unscheduled visit, you may remind yourself that it’s not a good idea.
As you can see in the photo, I started mine, but it’s still a work in progress. Still, I wanted to share it anyway. I feel like I’ve gotten horribly behind with these, and I’m scrambling to catch up again.