Today’s NaNo post asks us to describe our writing soundtrack. I covered this one not too long ago, so I’m going off script.
I want to say something… and I mean this from the very bottom of my heart and with every fiber of my being.
Where else, and in what industry, do you find an entire group of people who are so dedicated to the success of everyone involved? Short answer: Only in the writing world have I ever experienced this wholesale mutual support.
Chuck Wendig over at TerribleMinds is always talking up new books from authors in his own genre. Today’s post is a piece written by Kevin Hearne that is part book tour announcement, and part discussion regarding the mechanics of a book tour.
Kevin, in turn, co-runs The Holy Taco Church, where authors come together to talk up other authors… and discuss new ways to make tacos. Because tacos fucking rule.
I attend several meet-up groups locally that are all authors-helping-authors. We all know we can learn from each other, and we all have skills we can trade and teach… so we do. Freely and without fear of consequence.
But the example that really sank this in for me, and gave me all sorts of warm-fuzzies for my fellow writers: Our NYCMidnight Flash scores for round 2 came across last night. I got a 4… that’s 12th place in my heat… not enough to advance. Personally, I was ecstatic to get anything above a zero, considering that I wrote my round two story as more of a joke than a real entry… and it was mostly for the benefit of all my friends in the competition. They wanted more Spartacus, so I delivered!
Anyway, the point is… when those scores came across, the message boards lit up like a beacon of congratulatory warmth. The writers in that competition tend to be there for the purposes of honing and sharing their craft. Anyone who has been through more than one round knows that the judging is as subjective as one would assume it might be. And while the idea of “winning” is pretty cool, it’s the stories we tell that really matter. It boils down to a few hundred active forum participants who have everyone’s best interest at heart, offering solid critique, encouragement and sincere congratulations to the top scorers.
Why are we this way?
What makes writers view competition in a wholly different light? I can’t speak for all of us, but I know why I don’t fear my “competition.” First and foremost: writers write for themselves. We are in solid competition with the last story we wrote, and we constantly strive to improve our craft. One of the best methods to improve one’s self is to teach.
Here it comes…. I get to use it again….
You teach best what you most need to learn. – Richard Bach
I swear, I’m just going to make that the subtext for my blog header.
Writers tend to be voracious self-educators. We are constantly striving to learn and more deeply understand anything and everything related to our craft. Some weeks, that’s focusing on grammar concepts that baffle us. Other weeks, we’re researching the best ways to hide a body. It really runs the gamut.
We understand that other writers share this self-education journey, and we gladly join forces whenever we can. Entire groups exist who write in the same genre because writers understand that other writers are not competition, but partners in crime.
So, this post is for you, fellow author. You are awesome. Your goals and dreams and ambitions are as important to me as my own. We will all succeed together, because we’re just that awesome.