Non-writer friends are awesome, aren't they? Sometimes their naivete is so darn cute we just want to pet them on their heads and squeeze their cheeks. They amuse us with questions like, "When are you going to send that thing off to a publisher?" and "What are you going to do with all the money you're going to make?" Since they are our friends, we then take the time to explain to them the long process of trying to get published. They pretend to "get it", but then two weeks later, they're asking what the editor thought of your book. You respond, "Umm, it's with an agent, not an editor."
Despite their lack of understanding of the publishing world, non-writer friends (I'll refer to as NRF's from here on out) are often our biggest supporters. Why? Because they're simply amazed by the fact that we WROTE A BOOK! Who cares if it's more disjointed than your grandmother's hip, they're in awe that you took several months out of your life to type 50,000+ words!
NWF's are also awesome, because they say the things our writer friends can't (for fear of being bludgeoned to death with stones by the writing community). For example, "That agent doesn't know what the hell they're talking about!" and "How does that idiot stay in business? Taking six months to get back with you . . . sheesh!" Oh, and my personal favorite, "Your book is ten-times better than half the crap out there!"
Most of all, non-writer friends keep us grounded. They help remind us of who we are and everything we've accomplished. They push us to keep going. They might not fully understand what we're going through like other writers do, but they're unconditional belief in us and their praise of our work motivates us.
Whenever I start getting down on myself (and my ability to write), I think back to the first time I shared my manuscript with my closest and dearest friend. She's an avid reader--especially of women's fiction--so I was terrified of how she would respond to it. My fears were quickly laid to rest though when I received an email from her telling me she loved it. She eagerly requested more pages, and not only that, she wanted to talk about it! She didn't want to discuss sentence or dialog structure, she wanted to talk about the characters and the plot and how she could relate to my main character. She loved my story! I remember crying. Hard. This was the first time I felt like I might actually have a shot at this whole publishing thing.
So while NWF's might ask annoying questions and maybe they couldn't maneuver the road to publication with a map, don't ever forget they were there for you before the book, and they'll be there after. Win or lose, they'll always be cheering for you.