Requisite post of appreciation

From me to you
From me to you

As writers, we’re all on our individual paths. Our journeys towards whatever goal we each have are chock-full of good days, bad days, ups, downs, twists and turns.

Despite knowing this is not an easy thing to do, we soldier on. There are countless obstacles, pitfalls and other hazards to slow us down, test our confidence and push our endurance to the extreme.

The one saving grace as we put ourselves through this sometimes hellish process is we don’t have to do it alone.  There are lots of other writers out there struggling with the same problems, but it’s up to each of us to be willing to seek out help from those other writers.

That’s part of the reason why I started this blog. I wanted to write about my writing, and offer up what might be considered helpful advice or a word of encouragement to anybody willing to hear it.

To say this has been a positive and gratifying experience would be an understatement.  I’ve been extremely fortunate to connect and establish good working relationships with a lot of talented writers, and hope the trend continues.

It’s great when somebody likes a post or makes a comment, or retweets or favorites the link on Twitter. Even if it’s just somebody checking out the blog for the first time, that’s pretty cool too.

I’m just a guy who likes to write, and is extremely glad to be part of a community of other writers just like me.

So thanks for…well, everything. I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far, and hope you’ll stick around.

Nevertheless, I still play well with others

I was told there'd be ice cream afterward...
Hey gang! Who wants ice cream?

I was reminded this week why it’s important to build up your own network of trusted friends and colleagues.

Even though I’m pretty confident about knowing certain things, and am more than willing to admit when I don’t know something, I need and always appreciate good feedback.

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to connect with a good number of talented writers over the past few years. The more we communicate (pretty much via email & Twitter), the more we respect and value each others’ opinions. So I’m extremely appreciative when they’re open to reading my stuff if I ask, or offering to read it, as well as asking if I’d do the same for them.

Everybody who’s read my script has liked it, but has also given thoughtful suggestions on how it could be improved.

This system has worked out pretty well for me, and hopefully it’s been reciprocal for them.

Which is why I don’t think I’ll be very active on public forums anymore. Not that I was overly active to begin with, but it’s hard for me to value the opinion of somebody I don’t know and has never seen anything I’ve written compared to somebody who knows me and my writing style.

Case in point: I once posted questions about what should and shouldn’t go into my query letter.  I got about a dozen responses, each with different answers and opinions. Of those, maybe two, possibly three, actually answered the question with well-thought, insightful and unexpectedly supportive comments. A majority weren’t very helpful, and one was just too cryptically-worded that I had no idea what they were talking about.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot of helpful information out there, and connections are made all the time.  But reading responses to various posts, sometimes it feels like some folks don’t exactly have a firm grasp of what they’re talking about, or give advice not related to the original question.  Pointing you in the wrong direction will not help you in the long run.

Most of my connections have come through the other person’s online presence. I read their blog, newsletter or website, it gives me a bigger window into what kind of writer and person they are. I introduce myself, maybe there’s some email correspondence, and before you know it, both of our networks have increased by one.

It’s harder to accomplish that based on a 1-2 sentence not-as-helpful-as-you-had-hoped answer to your question.

It takes time to build up your network, but in the end you’ll be really glad you did.