|Never Underestimate - Maria A Smith|
I've noticed after being on Twitter for a while, the generous way in which writers help each other, its quite amazing, and fantastic to see. They'll offer each other advice, congratulations on successes, recommend courses, and workshops, and all manner of different writerly things, as well as conversational support. Lets face it, writing can be a very solitary business. If you're a writer not using Twitter, I urge you to give it a try out.
Helping each other should though, extend beyond social networking, writers should feel able to ask each other for help and advice, outside in the real world, they shouldn't be precious or guarded. Thats my view, it is my own I know, but hear me out.
If I know of a competition, or a free workshop, or an event for writers going on, in and around my area, I broadcast it, so that everyone can have the opportunity of learning, or enjoying the experience.
At my group, I'm happy to offer any knowledgable advice, if it helps someone move forward, it makes me happy. Sometimes writers just need a little support to know they are not alone, or some encouragement at an event or a reading.
It does however, dismay me when I come across someone who is precious about things. My worst memory was whilst attending a writing workshop at an out of town writers group, which had been financed by a sponsor. My friend and I, had enjoyed the workshop, and had paid a reasonable cash contribution to attend for the day, which allowed the event to go ahead. In other words, we were invited to make up the numbers, but that was fine, the course was well delivered and we learnt lots too.
On our way out, after an enjoyable day, I innocently asked who had sponsored the event? It was as if a sheet of ice had descended over our little group, time stood still, until eventually someone uttered the words, 'they want to remain anonymous,' however, it was clear to see by the body language, and eye contact, that the real reason I wasn't being told was because the lady organising was worried I might try for some funding for my group if she divulged the name of the sponsor. How very sad. Which incidentally, wouldn't have happened. I was asking only because I was curious.
It was the first time I'd seen 'precious' in action, but sadly, I've seen it several times since. Everything from not telling others about competitions for fear the person they told might win! To not offering advice when they have a wealth of experience, to someone desperate to learn, Its crazy, its sad and its bad! Don't do it! Be nice to each other.
By living generously, stretching yourself, and yes perhaps feeling a wee bit uncomfortable now and again, you'll eventually gain more than you ever could, by being precious or guarded.
In my experience, most people remember, and they'll be grateful you took the time, often they'll share what they know, what they have, and who they know with you too. You'll be all the better for your act of taking time to help another writer. Networking is good for us all.
Think about giving something away, and stop thinking what can I get? See what happens. Help each other.