Last week I shared a post on Facebook that made me nervous. I didn’t want it to sound like a rant, but there was something going on in the writing community that was bothering me and I needed to get it off my chest. I’m not very big on sharing things publicly, but I care about this community and wanted to talk about how I felt. The post is here if you want to read it – BUT that is not the focus of my blog today.
What I want to talk about is all the positive things I find in the writing community and how it has helped me from the beginning. It’s my attempt to put something honest and kind back into a community that seems to have become combative and filled with vitriol.
When this blog was in its infancy I focused on sharing tales from my own journey. I got incredible feedback and felt like I wanted to do something positive for my readers. With this in mind, I reached out to successful authors and asked them to share advice and tales from their own paths to publication. This eventually grew into my W.O.W. series. – which would not have been possible if not for the generosity of other writers. When this all first started I was an unknown writer. Those seasoned authors could have easily blown off my emails, but instead they graciously answered my questions, offering up their own pieces of sage advice about the world of publishing. To this day, I’m still overwhelmed when an author agrees to an interview. I know how sacred their writing time is, yet they take a moment away from that to share their stories. For that I will always be infinitely grateful.
Since the beginning of my writing career I’ve discovered how kind writers can be to one another. After I finished my first manuscript, I took a trip to New York to attend a pitch event. On the first day we were divided into groups by category and genre. Of course, YA being the biggest. What started as a group of unknown writers all eyeing each other, and sizing one another up, turned into something much more incredible. We worked together, shared our pitches, and by the end of the event were rooting and cheering each other on. A group of 15 strangers linked together by a common goal. To this day one of those writers, Katie French, is still a close friend and important part of my writing sphere. This should be the core of our community – lifting each other up instead of tearing one another down.
If you need one other piece of evidence that points to how amazing this community is, let me share one last personal example. As many of you may know, I just finished a huge revision. I’m not going to lie, it was draining and during the process I cried (a lot). I’d been wracked with doubt and feeling down until I reached out to other writers who I knew had been through the same thing. Let me tell you those writers showed up for me in SPADES. Sharing their own struggles. Offering advice, cheering me on, and most importantly reminding me that this was only a step in the journey, not the end all be all. One day (hopefully) I’ll be able to thank each and every one of those people in a grand way (maybe in an acknowledgements page!!!), but until now they know privately just how much I love and appreciate them.
The grumbles on social media may get the biggest push on heightened days, but what remains constant for me in the writing community is the overwhelming number of people who are honest, kind, and incredibly giving of their time.
I’m not one to point out a problem and not offer a solution so here is my idea…
The next time you see someone going after an author I propose this-reach out to a writer you admire and let them know how much you love their work. Contact a beta or CP and tell them know how much you appreciate their time. Give a loving shout out to your writing group and tell them they are AMAZING! Perhaps as a community we can drown out the anger one smile and kind word at a time.