This just about says it all. No matter how smart, wise and creative we are, there’s just no substitute for a second opinion from someone you trust. Writers know this like nobody else, entrusting their babies as they do in the hands of trusted readers who are willing to tell them the sweet and bitter truth. The sweet comforts and encourages (and who doesn’t need a little bit of that?), but the bitter is what helps you grow into your full potential, and there’s no greater gift anyone can give us than that, whether in writing or in our life.
At the very least, there are three kinds of outside wisdom you need: the wisdom of a good friend, the wisdom of your pack, and the wisdom of your partner in life.
THE WISDOM OF A GOOD FRIEND
A good friend will tell you the truth. She’ll tell you what you need to know so that you can step out of self-delusion into the bright light of the truth. Her truth-telling is a sledgehammer, helping you break out of your confining shell, or a gentle wind nudging you on.
THE WISDOM OF RUNNING WITH THE PACK
A crew of friends and fellow-travelers, your pack, your posse, your tribe, is a second, indispensable tool. These are the people with whom you share a primary orientation out in the world. Sometimes this breaks down by profession —