Writing is competitive. Whether we’re submitting a pitch for a magazine article, sending in an essay for a competition, or submitting our novel to an agent or publisher, we know that hundreds of thousands of other writers are doing the exact the same thing. When we sit down to draft that cover letter or proposal or scrutinize that final draft, we’re trying to make sure that we’re doing something that will stand out from everyone else and shine all the brighter.
Nothing wrong there!
After all, we want to win that competition, or secure the contract to write that article, or net that agent/get to sign a deal with that publisher! We’re aiming for the dream of being a published author, seeing our name in print. Along with all of the others out there that we encounter in our writing groups and workshops.
What sets us apart, though, from other careers, other vocations, is that even though we’re in competition with each other, we’re also the biggest fans of one another.
Read that again:
Writers care about and cheer each other on!
Madness, right? Yet we do!
We sit down in workshops, and while we pick each other’s works apart, we do so with the intent of making the work BETTER. We aren’t sitting down to belittle each other or tell the other person they’re a hack. We sit down and analyze words on a piece of paper to figure out how to make them shine. We offer suggestions and marvel at the ingenuity and imagination of one another. We lift each other up and offer encouragement. We puzzle out knots and, when necessary, we murder useless characters. We’re frank with each other, and we emerge better for every session.
We post about our accomplishments and cheer for everyone, regardless of how small or large. We “hold hands” when one of us is going through a rough patch. We boost one another during our slow times. We send laughs and jokes when we’re down. We form a net of support and reassurance that is always there – unwavering, constant.
It’s wonderful, and it’s refreshing because I haven’t always experienced this circle of acceptance and caring. In my previous career, it was a false smile carried over a sharp blade that could be buried in your back at any moment. No one actually cared about you – everyone was out for themselves. No one wanted you to succeed, and if they said they wanted you to learn, it was only so it would benefit them. It was gutting, and it ate at the soul.
And I will never do that again!
Writers genuinely care about other writers, and we like to see each other succeed. Sure, we feel a twinge when someone close to us lands that publishing deal and we don’t, but it spurs us on to try harder. The best part is, our writing friends don’t just spontaneously ditch us – they continue to haul us around and demand better from us.
Writers seek the best from each other, and they know what each of us are capable of giving. We all want one another to succeed, and we want the best from each other. I think that’s why we form the support network we do, and why it’s so empowering to belong to this group.
You’ll definitely not find another group that’s better out there.