3. Friends Make Everything Easier — And Smarter
A few years ago, I met a writer named Justin Torres in a creative-writing class. The evening of the second session, he read a story called “Niagara.” Listening to him, I thought, “My God, who the hell is this guy?” I was gobsmacked. The story was shockingly good. (Several years later, he published the brilliant We the Animals.)
Over time, Justin and I became very close. We can talk about anything from, say, “Friday Night Lights” on NetFlix to the particular challenges faced by writers of color. Having friends who are just a little smarter than you or a little further along in their goals is crucial when you’re trying to do something difficult. These kind of intimates set the bar a little higher. It isn’t simply that they inspire you, it’s that their example makes you aspire to do better and be better.