Sunday, July 11, 2010

Authors Helping Writers

I've always been one of those people who believes in paying it forward...and giving back in gratitude for the gifts I've received. In particular, I believe in helping new writers.

If you go to my Coming Attractions page, you'll see that. I'm flying to Melbourne, Florida this weekend to give a workshop for their RWA chapter. (Hi, guys! Waving!) In September I will once again give my CAN THIS MANUSCRIPT BE SAVED workshop for NEORWA. Online workshop slots for 2011 are already filling up.

Flying to RWA chapter meetings and conferences and posting 2 lessons a week (and checking the homework and answering the email questions) takes a huge bite out of my time. I've actually seriously considered quitting twice.

But the urge doesn't last for more than a week. Why? Because I love teaching because it really is a way to touch the future. To help somebody who might otherwise get lost in the shuffle.

I remember how I longed to be a published author. I remember studying, scrimping and saving for conferences, driving places I'd never been, getting lost, longing for a moment of a published author's time in the hope that she could tell me what I'd been missing...

And lots of authors took the time to help me.

It's weird for someone in the public eye to put herself in the vulnerable position of admitting she didn't know very much so she had to study and she studied so hard that she now has ten workshops full of material! But if I don't admit the will the author who's just holding on by a thread hold on just the one more year or month or week or day that she needs to before her manuscript is noticed?

If writers who are successful, who make a living doing what they love, don't admit it wasn't always easy...How will others see the struggle is worth it?

And if writers who are now bestsellers for their publisher (or category line) don't say...Hey, I had to search out my style and voice so that I could find a place where I would entertain the wonderful readers who like what I write...then how will the writers desperately looking for their place in this business know that there is a place for them?

So I teach. I teach a lot. I don't teach to sell books...though I would hope that those who benefit from my workshops would do me the favor of supporting me the way I'm supporting them! LOL I don't teach for money. Though expenses are paid, I typically don't get a speaker fee from the chapters I visit. And, well, you've seen online workshop fees. My cut of the money is minimal.

But I like it that way. I like knowing that I do this with a pure motive. That I'm not doing this to shake down poor writers who are already struggling. I like knowing that I setting something in motion ...

A wave of writers allowing themselves to be vulnerable and admit they had their hard times...

A wave of writers helping other writers...

A wave of writers building the future.

I want to know that in twenty years or so when I retire to a beach, there'll be an abundance of books by wonderful authors that I can read!

So, if I'm coming to your chapter or your confernce or if I'm the online speaker for the next online workshop you attend, settle in and get ready for a ride. If you listen, really listen objectively, you won't just get a lesson on how to plot or edit or create a character to die'll also see that the journey might be a bit difficult, but it's certainly worth it.

And you can do it.


MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE is out at the local Walmart! THAT'S the thrill you're working for.

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