About a month ago, while out with my husband socially, I was asked what I do, and replied “I am a writer.” This was the first time in a long time that I have said this out loud and it really felt good.
Growing up, I was exposed to more authors than most other kids. Having a family member in the business means I got to meet a few writers growing up. I was encouraged to write to my favorite author, Marguerite Henry and for several years corresponded with her (these letters are among my most cherished possessions). Seeing authors as real people didn’t diminish my awe, but set a standard for how those in the writing profession should behave. Gracious and kind are words that come to mind, and in many cases I may add, patient (which I now realize is helpful when your biggest fans struggle to sit still and ask very long questions). Then and now, I see these individuals as superheroes. They made a difference in my world as well as in many others. They are the kind of people I aspire to be.
I am happy to say that I am finding the same qualities today. Over the past few months I have “met” many wonderful people who are also fantastic writers. Despite the fact that the competition is tremendous to get work published, most writers are celebrating each others’ victories and many are willing to take time out to read and comment on others’ work. Even, or maybe I should say especially, those who are the big fish in the pond, those who have been doing this a while and have large followings.
The people in my writing groups are among the most supportive I have ever encountered. When writer’s block strikes, they are quick to offer suggestions. When self-doubt creeps in, they point out successes. When the numbers (of likes, shares, acceptances) are down, they point out that the piece may simply have not “found its home yet,” that there is a place for all good writing (and they remind that the writing is in fact, “good”). When the trolls come out in force, they are there to dull the sting and soothe hurt feelings.
This is the kind of world I want to be part of, one that wants everyone to succeed, where we all encourage each other to be the best we can be. We don’t always agree, but we can disagree in a civil manner, or simply let it go. We do not have to always be “right,” we don’t have to have the last word; we can be content to give our opinion and move on.
The writing community is a family, we cheer each other on, support each other when we are feeling doubt and defend each other in comments when the trolls get really ugly. Why can’t the rest of the world follow suit?
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