Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The Benefits of Holding Hands
Originally published at http://Fictorians.com
Robert Fulgham is known for saying that everything we need to learn, we learned in kindergarten. Writers being solitary creatures forget that everything we need for writing, we also learned in kindergarten. We all think of writing groups as ways to help each other, but we overlook other key ways writers can help each other. The writer sitting alone in his cabin and getting the next great American novel published is the exception, not the rule. Like any other business, writers need to network and market.
Writers help each other by passing on opportunities. I met another writer years ago through an online writer’s forum. We’ve both dropped off that site but stayed in touch via FaceBook and e-mail. Deb’s published and her novel’s done well. You can find it at: http://www.doghornpublishing.com/crashin_the_real.html
When Deb was editing an anthology (Women Writing the Weird), ahe invited me to submit and accepted one of my short stories. Because she was still looking for stories, with her permission, I sent out inquiries to other writers I knew from the Superstars Writing Seminar. http://www.superstarswritingseminars.com
A friend’s story was accepted. The anthology was published in October, 2011. You can find it at: http://www.doghornpublishing.com/women_writing_the_weird. It will be available through other venues in May, 2012.
But for my friendship with Deb, I wouldn’t have participated in the anthology.
Writers are resources. Most of us have had at least one other career. I know how lawyers talk and think since I am one. I’ve helped another writer edit his upcoming novel to make sure the lawyer character sounds like one. But, I don’t really know how doctors talk. I do, however – see the lawyer slipped in –, know a fellow writer who’s a doctor. If I was writing a medical thriller, I’d ask him to read the first draft and tell me what I had wrong.
Other writers help you stay motivated. They can hold you accountable. It’s like having an exercise or diet buddy. After all, who can understand the ups and downs of writing better? Writers need to network, commiserate and, well, get honest feedback about what they write from others who are wrestling with the same questions: is my female lead too weak; my male lead too much of a jerk; are they believable; does anyone care about them other than me? And I’m competitive enough that when we throw out challenges, I rise to the word count.
So, as Robert Fulgham said:
. . . Share everything. . .
When you go out in the world,
Watch out for traffic, hold hands,
And stick together. . . .