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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

H is for - Helping Each Other

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.

22 comments:

  1. Treat others as you would wish to be treated has always been my motto. Sharing and connecting is surely what writing is about. Happy H day to you, Maria.

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    1. Yes, I agree, sharing what you know is the best way of connecting...

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  2. I've had a lot of help myself, which I'm grateful for so I do try to offer some myself when I can.

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    1. Me too, writers further along the road have been generous and have already trod the road. Their help is invaluable...

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  3. In my experience, it's just a great feeling to give someone else that little extra creative push they need, or introduce them to someone else who you just know they will hit it off with. When someone comes back to you a few weeks, months or years from now and says 'Look what I've achieved - thanks for the help and support' it really does make you feel fulfilled. Bitterness and jealousy are destructive - usually most destructive to the person that's dishing it out.

    Incidentally, thanks for the generous help and support you've given me so far - I'm having a whale of a time writing and you are one of the people that has helped me along the way.

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    1. Thank you Mr Kelly...its been a pleasure so far. ;-)

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  4. I am still working on my second draft of my novel, but I think that is part of the reason I do not go to writing seminars. We had a few in our college courses, and often it was a bit too competitive. I am glad people get things of these, but it seems like there is a competitive undercurrent, and I cannot be certain the people attending one would like what I wrote, or if I would like what they wrote. I am looking into networking opportunities with having my writing friends review my novel once it is published, and I have done the same for a few. Great advice on this blog, and I found you via the A to Z Challenge on Twitter.
    Sweetbearies Art Tips

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    1. Once your novel is published it doesn't matter what your friends think...its published. If you want feedback its best to ask when something doesn't quite feel right on the page. I'm sure, if you make a small step now, you'll reap the benefits of having writing buddies who will support you.

      Why not try asking someone with a similar goal?

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  5. How very odd to get that sort of reaction! I think social network is more fabulous than not and long may it continue to be so but for that to happen we all need to pull together as you so rightly pointed out.

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  6. i believe in the "reaping and sowing" thing---great thoughtful post!

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  7. It's sad some people feel they have to keep things to themselves when they could share it and enjoy the knowledge twice over.

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  8. We've all had experiences like that. There's no point in not helping each other. Did you ever go to another workshop there?

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    1. Well here is the thing Sally, I was never asked again.

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  9. In the blog-o-sphere I've only met helpful writers and it is VERY much appreciated. I need all the help I can get.

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    1. Aww bless...I bet you can help one or two yourself now then. Share the writerly love about a bit! ;-)

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  10. I love your post choices! And I love the garden photo with H. Is it on Pinterest? (I'd love it for my Exploring Gardens board.)

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    1. It is now! Check here...

      http://pinterest.com/pin/198932508512792442/

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  11. Seek to do good, and you will find that happiness will run after you.
    ~James Freeman Clarke

    I don't get the whole "precious" attitude. Those people will never have the opportunity of being thanked by someone who will surely prosper with or without their help anyways.

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  12. Surely the reason we have various experiences going through life is so that we can pass on the wisdom we have learned as a result of them and hopefully help others a little bit along the way. I have found on the whole writers are very generous people. Long may it continue! A lovely post Maria. Thank-you.

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I really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment, and I try to reply to every one. Many thanks!