Monday, May 17, 2010

To Somebody, You Are Somebody

Image found on Salvation Army website

First, I'd like to apologize for not blogging on schedule on Friday: packing the toddler for a 6-hr train ride to Philly was more time-consuming than expected. What's that? You say you don't care, you spent your Friday blog-reading time just staring at Wednesday's eye candy? Oh. Well, in that case, you're welcome.

So, today I wanted to talk about connections. As Jackson Pearce says about 3 minutes into her lovely video Everybody's Free (To Buy A Laser Printer), in which 28 YA Authors give you advice on writing, publishing, and everything in-between... in song:

Reach out. Find people who want to help you, and people who you want to help.

Mostly, I wanted to remind the beginning/unagented/unpublished writers out there that, even if you feel like a newbie, I promise you have something wonderful to offer someone else. I know people who don't give back, not because they're selfish, but because they don't think they have anything to offer. YOU DO. Don't ever think that you're not experienced enough to help or connect with others.

Maybe you're the perfect crit partner for someone more experienced because you "get" what they're trying to achieve with their current WIP, and so your first-reader impressions are exactly what they need to hear.

Maybe you found some really cool online resources for newbies that other newbies need to know about.

Heck, maybe your day job is postal worker, and there's a writer out there who desperately needs to know what those extra four digits in the zip codes are all about.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting up with some people to chat about one of the jobs I used to do. And then on Wednesday, I'm hoping to meet with a much more experienced writer and teacher to pick his brain about the kind of writing I hope to do in the future. One day, I'll be the "expert." The other, I'll be the newbie, and I plan to have an absolute blast both days.

And here's the thing: I kind of forgot that people might want to hear about the things I used to do until I got an email from the students I'm meeting tomorrow. I'm glad they wrote to me. I'm glad they reminded me that I have experience and stories to share that might have value to other people. So, now I'm reminding you. Go out and be generous with what you know.



  1. Six hours on a train with a toddler?! Sounds like a dare! Or an initiation tnto a mature soroity!
    Thanks for the reminder! You get what you give, eh?

  2. Thanks for the extra kick in the pants to stop self-defeating thinking like "I have nothing to say that hasn't been said elsewhere." You're right that in my little corner I have the power to be somebody helpful to someone else.

  3. Traveling with a toddler, oh boy. Get to that several times this summer.

    I have learned so much from other writers, those who writing blogs and those who are generous enough with their time to teach workshops. I'm always amazed at how much writers want each other to succeed.

  4. FINALLY getting back into my blog hopping ways, and what a great pst to get started with. You're right, it's so easy to think I don't know enough to have something to offer. But maybe I do. In the right venues at least. Happy Monday!

  5. It's twelve hours by Amtrak to visit my mother-in-law in South Dakota. Husband did it with our four year old at Thanksgiving. As they got off the train, a woman said, "I just want you to know, your little boy was the best kid I've ever ridden a train with."

    And my husband said, "Are sure you mean THIS kid?"

  6. Ha! I tend to have the delusional, opposite problem: I think everyone will want to hear what I have to say! Especially the stuff about Xanadu and unicorns! Too much self-esteem as a child, obvs.

  7. Inspiring words, Carrie. My dad is a retired postal worker who loves to spout off zip codes! I'm a songwriter and journalist, but lately the latter is preventing me from getting in touch with my creative side. I'm working on fixing that. Keep writing and being an outlet for creative souls.