Life is full of competition and people who only look out for themselves. It’s dog-eat-dog, every man for himself… or so it seems. There’s competition for jobs, for acceptance into a program, for tickets to events, even for something as small as that last bottle of your favorite drink at the store.
But you know one place that doesn’t feel this way? The writing community.
I don’t know if any of you have experienced this, but other than the occasional bad egg (looking at you, arrogant person on Twitter obsessed with telling people how stupid they are), I have never felt more supported and encouraged than when I talk to other writers online. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I have theories.
Writers, especially those going into traditional publishing (even self publishing), know how hard this life is. They understand the rejection that lurks around every corner. They know how difficult it is to “make it.” And they know the trials they went through and are still going through and will be coming back tomorrow.
And you know what? I think that makes them some of the most empathetic people I’ve ever met. Well, that and jumping into a new person’s head every day they write.
You see, there’s enough hard stuff in this industry, and writers remember how it was starting out, how intimidating and big and scary the industry seemed (and still is, to many). They know what it feels like to feel insufficient, like you’re not good enough, like your work isn’t good enough, and not even knowing the first step to take to tackle a mountain-sized project.
And they don’t just stop with the empathy.
Like, actually help. Got questions on minor details of a formatting issue? Post it in a writer’s group or on Twitter, and someone will come to your rescue. Feeling the burn of a rejection? You can find sympathy, empathy, and encouragement from any one of these people! Confused how to start editing your book? There are so many editors out there who hang out in forums and hashtags and just answer people’s questions.
And what’s more, these people very rarely say anything negative to you. They build you up. They encourage you. When you query, they cheer you on. When you get an agent or a publishing deal, they dance and celebrate with you. And that is such a rare thing in a professional world, to have your peers celebrate your successes with you.
Sure, there are things I encounter in certain groups or threads that burn me up or hurt my feelings, but the frequency of this kind of encounter is so much lower than all the positivity I have found to radiate from the writing community. It truly is like nothing I’ve encountered before, and I am in love with it.
In a career filled with negative things, let’s keep this positivity going.
What about you? Do you participate in any writing or author communities? What have your experiences been like? Do you agree with me? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it in the comments!