There is a saying I heard when I was nursing—something about nurses devouring their young. And, unfortunately, I saw it all too often. New grads would hire on, idealistic and full of enthusiasm, only to find not only a lack of support, but sometimes a subtle sabotage that made their incorporation into the world of healthcare both disappointing and fraught with the potential for failure.
Why? Were those older nurses who held diplomas rather than a BSN threatened? Perhaps. Although I found more often (and zeroed in on this for my thesis in graduate school) that nurses often come from dysfunctional/addicted family backgrounds (read: born caregivers) and replicate the behaviors of their family of origin in the work place. I suppose the same applies to many other professions as well.
Writing, full-time or on the fly, is essentially a lonely profession. Sure, some of us might drag those laptops into a coffee shop or library. But to really write, most of the time we must wrap a little bubble around ourselves and hole in.
I have found, however, that I need other writers. I need their friendship, their feedback, their encouragement and their ideas. I need their “Congratulations” when I have a success, and their
“Don’t give up,” when the rejections pour in. Sometimes I need a kick in the butt when I’m feeling sorry for myself, or a pat on the back when I bring the umpteenth hundred revision to the table.
So how can we reach out to one another? What can we do to help one another become better and happier writers? I’m going to toss out a few things that help me (or have helped me in the past). And then I’m inviting you to add your suggestions in the comments, if you would.
♥ Join a writing group—writers who meet (in person or on-line)on a regular basis to read and critique manuscripts, share ideas and maybe a glass of wine, talk about projects, celebrate success. Each group is structured by the members to achieve their goals—a subject for a future post.
♥Visit writing blogs (based on your genre), read and comment. Join blogging communities that share your interests; participate in prompts, or offer your own prompts.
♥Recommend good books, authors, periodicals, websites or blogs. Share your finds with your writing friends, whether these sources are about the art of writing or, perhaps, a novel with exceptional writing that will inspire.
♥Attend book-signings, buy one another’s work, write on-line reviews, host an on-line or local book launches; interview a newly-published author on your blog.
♥Suggest agents that you run across in your searches if they are a fit for your writing buddy, or refer them to your own agent.
♥Share your personal marketing successes and disappointments. Don’t let your writing friends make the same mistakes you did, or miss opportunities that could give them an added boost.
The nursing profession has evolved, I hope. New grads are assigned long-term mentors to help them achieve their goals. Why would anyone want to see a newbie fail and even leave nursing when there is such a shortage?
True, there is no shortage of wanna-be writers, but with the advent of so many new publishing platforms, there are options for all of us to get our work out there, if that’s our goal. And there’s the satisfaction of just helping each other to write well, to improve our craft and to enjoy the process of putting pen to paper.
How have you reached out to other writers? What kind of support have you found most valuable? I hope you will add your ideas to the comments. Thanks for joining. Have a happy productive week of writing.