Authors Helping Authors
One of the things I’ve always loved about the writing community is how generous its members are. When I decided to take my writing seriously, act like a professional, and attend my first SCBWI conference , I never would have guessed how many veterans would be willing to hold out a helping hand. I had thought of writing as this solitary activity. You know, be independent; be disciplined. Yes, it’s important to be those things, but not in the absolute way I had envisioned. I still remember the moment I read an author’s acknowledgments and realized how many writers knew and supported each other.
I don’t have to do this alone. That was a powerful idea.
After that, I joined a critique group (or two) at my first opportunity and went through what I refer to as my Goldilocks phase—too hard, too soft, and finally just right! Even the ones that weren’t quite right showed me how much I didn’t know, which, incidentally, was a lot. And later still, feedback from agents and editors refined my writing even further. Then, finally, after gaining experience I was in the position to help others.
So, I volunteered for SCBWI and created the Whatcha’ Reading Now? web-site with a couple close writer friends—Kerry O’Malley Cerra and Jill MacKenzie. Helping out with SCBWI was and still is a way of giving back. The site, on the other hand, started out as a way to engage readers and get them excited about books. But one huge side benefit has been to help authors have one more way to touch their existing readers and hopefully reach some new ones too. And, while Whatcha’ Reading Now? feels like a lot of work sometimes (most especially last night as I worked on getting our webmaster the content for our 12th issue), it is gratifying work.
So, my community of children’s writers is so big-hearted. So kind. But, really the story goes beyond this one community…
A little while back, I read on another blog about how veteran author Joe Konrath helped a Scott Doornbosch, a long-time friend of his, self publish his first novel, Basic Black. The reason? Scott is fighting cancer, and although hopefully he’ll win, what if he didn’t and ran out of time? If you’ve ever read this blog, you’ll know what makes it remarkable is that Konrath seems like a pretty hard-boiled guy, but the truth of the matter is that he’s more generous than, than, than…The Average Joe. If you’re at all interested in the full account of this generosity, be sure to visit the blog here. Then this week, he did it again for author L.A. Banks. A benefit to help her offset medical bills. He makes my pay it forward efforts seem pretty puny.
I mentioned in an earlier post of mine (here) how I believe volunteerism is a personal responsibility for each of us. Whether it’s being a room mom, a youth sports coach or someone’s mentor we are meant to help each other. And sometimes when we do that, we help ourselves at the same time. Some people call that karma. I call it doing the right thing.
Who has helped you recently? Why not give them a shout out in the comments!