One of the greatest benefits I’ve found from developing and interacting with my network of fellow writers is the mutual willingness to help out when that help is requested.
Just within the past month, I’ve had three requests for script notes and two for logline feedback. (Although I’ll be the first to admit my timing could use a little improvement. It always takes me longer than I think. But I make a point of doing it. That counts, right?)
And during this same time, I’ve contacted several associates, asking “If you have the time, what do you think of this?”
The advantage of this kind of arrangement cannot be understressed. While I’ve gotten a lot out of using professional feedback, I’ve also been extremely fortunate to have received some very insightful and helpful comments from other writers. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much their suggestions have contributed to the improvement of my scripts and loglines.
Since politeness actually does count (and people will remember it, or the lack thereof), I make sure to send them a thank-you note, which includes “More than happy to return the favor.” Which I am. I enjoy reading and commenting on other people’s stuff. And I’ve yet to have one person say my notes weren’t helpful. To my face, anyway.
One of those written-in-stone tenets of screenwriting is “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While this primarily applies to people working in the industry, it can also work for those of us trying to break in.
Take a look at your own personal network. How many of them would you be willing to contact and ask for a little help? And how willing would you be to help them if they came to you? Being helpful and supportive goes a long way for both parties.
3 thoughts on “The great exchanging of 2 cents”
I know how you feel. I have asked a published fiction writer and a English teacher for help in reading my material and they have been very helpful giving me an honest opinion and I appreciate their help. I opened my door to the fiction writer and offered to read any of her pros, but I can only offer friendship to the teacher which I do happily. I wish every writer can find a knowledgeable or just caring person to be that someone to turn to.
It certainly is scary starting out. I am just a beginner in actually publishing work, although I have been building the confidence to write down my creativity for a while. Getting criticism and giving criticism back (although can be really nerve-wracking) has been a fantastic way to not only get help for myself, but also feel more connected to followers.
Good for you! It can indeed be quite intimidating, but keep at it and never stop learning. Good luck!