Have you given any thought to how you interact with other writers, experienced and inexperienced? Today’s post grew out of some conversations and situations I’ve been aware of in the past few months. These questions are food for thought, no matter where we are in our writing careers. Not just for experienced writers, but also for new writers to consider as they begin their path to publication.
1. Do you willingly share what you know about the writing and publishing worlds with fellow writers?
Or do you believe there is a finite number of publishing dollars available, and if you help another writer it will cut into or deprive you of your share of those dollars?
2. Do you warn inexperienced writers when they talk about signing with predatory agents, editors or publishers?
Or do you scorn them, and decide because they are so gullible they are perpetuating the predator problem, and therefore are part of that problem?
3. Do you complete your own due diligence, and research agents, editors, conferences, publishers, and writer’s tools?
Or do you leap, without looking, into anything mentioned or promoted by writers and non-writers, and then blame them for getting you into the situation?
4. Do you take responsibility for the success or failure of your own writing career?
Or do you blame someone, or everyone, else when you struggle to improve your writing, find an agent, or be discovered by a publisher?
5. Do you offer helpful suggestions and comments that inspire other writers to work harder and become better writers?
Or do you look down on writers who haven’t reached your level of skill, and offer hurtful comments that make them doubt their dream of writing?
6. Do you ridicule inexperienced writers who ask you to critique their work?
Or do you take some time to help them understand their strengths and weaknesses, to encourage them to keep on writing so they continue to improve?
7. If a less-experienced writer says or does something that offends you, or something you don’t consider smart, do you hold it against them forever and refuse to associate with them?
Or do you forgive them, and help them understand how to fix the situation?
8. Do you present your knowledge and experience as a mandate that other writers must follow exactly?
Or do you offer what you know and have experienced as suggestions for the other writer to use as they desire?
9. Do you constantly worry your fellow writers will steal your ideas, or your work, and therefore steal the publishing contract that should be yours?
Or do you realize that ideas cannot be copyrighted? And that no two writers will ever implement the same idea in exactly the same way. And most of all, that publishing contracts are awarded for excellent writing, not for ideas.
10. Do you feel your writing is at a level that no one can offer suggestions, critiques, or even edit it – because it’s already perfect?
Or do you know that even the comments of inexperienced writers, and your readers, contain the elements you need in order to continue to learn and grow as a writer?
11. Do you prefer to maintain a distance from anyone who hasn’t reached or surpassed your level of writing, for fear that associating with lesser talent might diminish yours?
Or do you remember that you did not create the talent within you, and that gift can only be diminished by what you yourself do with it?
12. Do you graciously and generously help and encourage fellow writers, especially those less-experienced than you, as you wish your favorite best-selling authors would help you?
What goes around, comes around. Enough said.