Writing is hard, y’all.
And I’m not just talking about the actual typing-words-onto-paper part. Which, yeah, is hard enough – trying to keep a million ideas and a plethora of characters, plot points, and locations in your head, and then spewing them out onto the page in a pleasing order.
You also need to advocate for yourself – finding publishers and agents and review opportunities, and putting yourself and your work out there in a way that makes many of us want to scream and retreat into our quiet, happy little writer caves.
That’s why it’s so vital that we all support one another, and help each other to climb the mountain.
This week, I was reminded that our industry is often less than stellar at helping its own, and that extends to our fellow writers. I won’t name names (so please don’t ask) or go into great detail, but I’ve had several well-known authors basically tell me they had no interest in me, my career or my work.
It’s disconcerting. We idolize our successful peers – they’ve put in the work, and made it to a place many of us only dream about.
I have to remind myself that they’re probably just as overwhelmed as the rest of us, and must get more requests than they can handle. But still, a kind word and some gentle encouragement from someone who’s higher up the mountain than we are can do wonders for our self-esteem, and help us find the resolve to keep climbing.
My entire writing career, I’ve tried to lift others up with me. My “pull” as a “successful” author is somewhat limited, but I do what I can to help others get the word out about their work and encourage them to keep going.
And there have been a few “big names” in SFF who have done the same for me. You know who you are, and I am eternally grateful to you for cheering me on.
So to my fellow authors – as you climb your own writing mountain, take a moment to remember that, no matter how low on the slopes you think you are, there are others below looking up at you. and admiring you and your work. Writers who would kill for a kind word from someone they idolize.
Take a moment every now and then and wave at them. Tell them to keep climbing, and you’ll meet them at the top!
For my writer friends, how have you helped encourage other authors, especially those with less experience than you, to keep writing? Have you acted as a mentor to anyone?