Passing it forward — at every level of success

characterHave you successfully finished the first draft of a novel? Gotten your first short story, poem or even a novel published? Built a solid network of writer friends to help propel you towards success?

If you’ve accomplished any or all of these things, you’re ahead of thousands of other writers.

You might not feel like a success–it’s hard to feel successful in writing if you’re still relying on that day job–but you’ve actually already achieved something or potentially several things thousands of other writers are struggling to achieve. And along the way you probably learned something that can help other writers achieve the same thing.

Now, I’m not suggesting you try to help all of those writers. I’m not even suggesting that you start a blog about writing. There are already thousands of blogs about writing in pretty much every genre. Building a blog to the point where you’re reaching even a hundred readers daily can be a grueling process, and maintaining a popular blog requires a lot of time and energy. And no matter how popular your blog is, you will never be able to help every writer. 

Still, it’s important for you to pass the knowledge forward. I’m sure you can think of writers who’ve helped you reach your current level of success. Not just the writers whose books inspired you to start, but writers who have given you critiques and written fascinating articles about the writing craft. There is always somebody you can help, even if it’s only by offering them a solid critique because they’re only a hair away from your level.

So how do you pass your knowledge forward?

There are dozens of ways to pass your knowledge forward, and at this point, starting a blog or newsletter about writing might just be the least effective. Successful writers are all eager to document their successes, the why and the how, and any writer seriously trying to build a career already follows a number of writing blogs and newsletters.

What you want to do instead is build relationships with a few specific writers actively trying to achieve the same goals you are, who happen to be a little bit further away from those goals than you.

This relationship can be many things. You can be a beta reader or offer to trade critiques, become an accountability partner dedicated to keeping the writer on track with weekly check ins, or simply offer your shoulder to cry on when your writer friend inevitably faces rejection or harsh comments from an editor.

Writers need all the help they can get.

Writing is a tough business, and we need help at every stage of our career. Great writing is not created in a vacuum. There are a hundred people involved most of us never know about: the critiquers, the people who pick the writer back up after rejection, the cheerleaders and every single staff member who makes a publishing house work.

If you expect to get help from other writers, you should be helping others too.

Have you ever helped another writer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

One thought on “Passing it forward — at every level of success

  • I help if I think I can but sometimes I feel like we’re all just the blind leading the blind. Blogging is hard work and time consuming if you want to grow you audience.

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