And especially no complaining that it’s Monday.
So I wanted to start off the year on a super positive note and figured what better way to do that, than to post a little about helping other writers. If you’re reading this blog, most likely you are another writer, or you’re at least considering writing. And that is what this site is for. To help inspire (and maybe even educate) new writers to keep learning and keep improving.
Because, here’s the thing: Other writers are your colleagues, not your competition. They’re not your opponents; they’re your support group.
I know it can sometimes be tempting to feel envious when the writer next to you finds a glimmer of success in this field where success can often be rare, but envy and jealousy will get you nowhere. If you catch yourself feeling discouraged because a writer you know you are “better than” gets a publishing contract or sells a short story, stop it right now. Every second you spend worrying about another writer’s success and feeling bad about it not only wastes time and effort that should be spent on your own writing, but also creates negative emotion that will get in the way of your ability to produce great fiction.
I know writers have the image of locking themselves in dimly lit rooms surrounding themselves with used paperback and empty coffee mugs, greeting the outside world only when absolutely necessary (which means only leaving the house to promote their latest work) and they hate sunlight and other people in general.
But that is so much not the case.
Most people are social. Most people have a desire to meet other people who share a common interest. And for writers, hopefully that common interest is…writing.
It’s like I said: we’re all on the same team here. One big happy family of writers. And every time one of us sells a book, it opens up the possibility of creating a new lifelong reader. And every time a new reader is born, the world becomes a better place 🙂
So what can we do to help out other writers?
For one thing, help them celebrate their accomplishments. If a friend in your critique group publishes a book; buy a copy. Support her. (Or him; I don’t know who’s in your critique group.) Buy them a drink. Leave a review on Amazon. Share it on Facebook.
Do whatever you can to help your friend promote the book. They’ll repay the favor when it’s your turn, but that’s not even the point. The point is simply to help keep those good vibes alive.
But that’s not the only way to help out other writers.
While we celebrate victories, we also need to help mend each others’ wounds in defeat. If a writer you know continues to pile up rejection letters, first offer sympathy. “I know, it sucks.” Next, offer to take a look at the manuscript. And offer some constructive feedback.
And just for those of you who are new at this, “constructive feedback” doesn’t mean simply stating “I liked it” or “I hated it.” It means picking out some parts that are great and some parts that might need some work. On the other end of the spectrum, it does NOT mean rewriting the work in your voice.
Don’t be afraid to share.
Share stuff with your writer friends as well. If you’ve got a blog, offer another writer a guest post spot. If you’ve got a friend with a blog, offer to write a guest post. If you find a publication with an open call and you think one of your friends would make a good fit, let them know. Even if it’s one that has turned you down in the past. (Remember that envy think I spoke of earlier.)
The wonderful thing about living in today’s world (for writers) is that it’s a world of nearly unlimited abundance. There are countless opportunities for writers off all skill levels and the harder you work, the better your chances. And working to help others can help make that work more bearable.
Remember the quote I use from Zig Ziglar on my about page:
You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
It’s true and it’s the motto of which we should view other authors.
Thanks for reading, and have a great New Year!