I had the most interesting conversation with one of our Master’s students the other day. The man lives in California, and he’s getting a degree in creative writing online. When I told him I was also a writer, he was thrilled. So much so that he asked my name and bought a copy of my book while we were on the phone.
And yet he told me I had made his day.
All because I was willing to give him my contact information, to help him along the rocky road to publication. I told him that as an educator, it’s only right to share whatever knowledge I have, even if its imperfect. We all know in writing there are many roads one can take to publication, and its not a one size fits all situation.
Then he said something that really struck me. He told me that most of the authors he comes across zealously guard their writing, their publishing path, and anything else that might be useful to a possible competitor.
Is that what the writing world is really like?
In my experience, writers have supported one another, built each other up, helped when asked. I felt so terrible for this man, who was clearly without a writerly support system of any kind. It inspired me to collaborate with our Creative Writing department, and I’m in the process of creating a writer’s group for our online community. No one should feel like they have nowhere to turn when they’re trying to live their dream of publishing a novel.
What do you think? Are you one of those people who loves collaborating with other writers, or do you prefer to figure things out on your own? When you do ask for help, are people willing to share their stories?
My books may not be the most beautiful. Smaller publishing houses don’t have the budgets of the Big Five. Still, they are out there, and that in and of itself was a process, and an achievement. I would be loathe to keep the journey to myself, if for no other reason than to prepare other writers for what will most likely be a difficult and trying road. I’ve learned things that might come in handy to someone else, and I hope that it does.
Food for thought, n’est pas?