A while ago I had been trying to get some great blogging writers to guest post here on Planet Simon and last week I got a great surprise Ari Meglen sent me a surprise guest post. I was dead chuffed! Ari runs the #MerryWriters tag game on Twitter which is really useful to meet other like minded writers. Anyway, Ari has some great words about how writers see other writers and… read the post, it’s great stuff! Go and look at her site and see what she’s up to, thanks again Ari!
Firstly, I want to say thank you to Simon for inviting me to guest post on his blog. I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you.
A damaging mindset
I connect with a lot more writers than I did a few years back, which is great, but I am still saddened by just how often I see and hear some writers treat others as if we are all in competition.
This is not the case and we damn well shouldn’t react as if it is. When writers see each other as competition, it is damaging.
They end up focusing on the wrong things, focusing on what their “competition” is up to, how they can “steal” the other writers’ readers and even to some extremes, create sock puppet accounts to leave nasty and negative reviews.
We’re in this together
The good thing about being a writer, is that even if we are writing the same genre, the same sub-genre as others, there is truly a space for all.
How many dystopian novels are there? How many horror stories featuring malevolent spirits? How many re-telling of fairy tales?
The answer is loads! Loads and loads of these and of each genre, of each sub-genre.
We are not really in direct competition. After all, if someone enjoys reading, say, werewolf novels, then they will look for other books in that category, not stay reading only one writers work on the genre.
So, if you write werewolf novels, you won’t “lose” customers to a rival werewolf writer, because the likelihood is that the readers will want to read more and thus end up reading yours too.
Jealousy is a bitter poison
It can be hard not to look at other writers’ work and not feel a stab of jealousy. Jealousy is very human but it’s not healthy. In times like that we need to step back, take a breath and appreciate the writer’s work.
If we are overwhelmed by how well they write their prose, we should study it, not sneer at it. We learn from each other. There is a reason the best writers are big readers. From each book we read we glean more, and it subtly affects our own writing.
So, let go of the jealousy as it does nothing to serve you, only causes a hindrance.
Why writers are your friends
Writers are some of the friendliest, most supportive people I’ve ever met. There are some genuine people who want nothing more than to cheer you on in your writing journey.
There are writers who have done the journey already and want to reach back to help you. There are writers who are still working on their story and want to push you up. There are new writers who feel inspired by your work and want to learn from you.
We aren’t in competition, we are in a community and should treat it as such. If you are treating other writers as your competition you are losing out on an incredible resource as well as some epic friendships.
Good writers support each other. We are Critique Partners, where a writer’s eye is needed to look over the manuscript to catch things before a reader sees it. Writers are fountains of knowledge on different techniques, whether that is for outlining, for structures, for grammar etc.
Writers aren’t jumper cables… don’t use them only when you need help
I’ve sadly known a few writers who very much had the “writers are my competition” mindset, up until they needed a Critique Partner or an ARC reader and starting sniffing around other writers trying to get assistance.
Please don’t do that. Treating your fellow writers as if they are to be beaten in the arena of book sales and then suddenly being nice when you need a favour is pretty bad etiquette.
Foster goodwill with other writers because we are a collective (not because you will want their assistance down the line). We are a collective because we understand each other.
We know the feeling of staring helplessly at a blank page. We know the feeling of riding that rollercoaster of “this is my best work yet” then “this is just awful”. We know the crushing sensation of someone who says something horrid about our work.
So, support your fellow writers, be their cheerleaders, buy their books, tell people about them and support their journey. For we are all in this together.
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