Monday, February 21, 2011

Writers Helping Writers

Bill Morris wrote a funny and thought-provoking article, "To Blurb or Not To Blurb," over at The Millions. He chronicles his discomfort when faced with a friend's book he agreed to read with the intention of writing a blurb.

It got me thinking about all of the ways writers help each other. Some things are easy, like commenting on a blog, while other things are harder, like offering a critique. Agreeing to give a blurb for a friend is another sticky area.

What if you love the friend but aren't in love with the book? What if all of your published friends start requesting blurbs from you? This could be a time-consuming affair! What if you spend hours reading the book, give a terrific blurb and the publisher ultimately does not use it?

I am not in a position to offer a blurb, so I'm not worried about any of this. But every writer has something to offer another writer, and some gestures are more time-consuming or risky than others. It's up to the writer to decide what she is willing to offer.

Here are some ways aspiring writers can help other writers.

- Follow other blogs.
- Connect and encourage each other on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites.
- Offer to critique a query, synopsis, or manuscript.
- E-mail writers you don't often see.
- Share other writers' good news. Shout out a congratulations on your social networks when a writer friend lands an agent, finals in a contest, or gets "the call."
- Leave positive reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites when you enjoy a book.
- Volunteer at your local writer's group.
- Answer questions to the best of your knowledge and pass on information.

In the spirit of wanting to share, I'm showcasing a few writers' blogs I recently discovered. We found each other through different routes--Twitter, recommendations, and other blogs, and I'm so glad we connected.

P.W. Creighton: Writing Files
Laura Pauling: Exercising the Right to Ramble
Jessica R. Patch: What are You Doing Here?
Lindsay A. Franklin
Cheryl's Musings: How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

I could have expanded this list to twenty-five easily! There are so many terrific blogs out there! Won't you take a few minutes to stop by and say "hi" to the above bloggers?

How do you help other writers?
Have a wonderful Monday!


  1. Thanks for linking to my blog! And I can't imagine how hard it would be to be in that position. I'm sure there are ways to deal with it - but I'd have no clue! And we have to support each other any way we can.

  2. If someone needs a read or something, I try to be available. I like doing reviews too, or passing along contest info. :-) Writers, I think, are the friendliest, kindest people. They're one of the few people who actually help and train up their competition.

  3. I offer a lot of giveaways to help get new artists and writers out along with trying to encourage everyone along this journey.

    (Actually, this week, I am doing five book giveaways. :O)

  4. The spirit of sharing is one of the reasons I cleave to this blogging community.

    Thanks for the links, I'm heading to make new friends:)

  5. P.W. is such an encouragement on Twitter! His #FFs always make me smile.

    And I love connecting writers. It's one of the thrills for me in this industry (especially if I know they write the same genre).

    Great post, Jill!
    ~ Wendy

  6. Great post, Jill. I think the writing community is one of the most helpful and selfless networks I've been involved with.

  7. Good morning!

    Laura: I know--it's a tough position! And your blog is so good. You inspire me to dig deeper. :)

    Jessica: Passing on contest info--great idea! I didn't think of that! You're always generous!

    Diane: You do offer cool giveaways! And five books this week? Wow!!

    Tamika: Me too. I love the spirit!

    Wendy: Exactly! And P.W.'s tweets brighten my day too!

    Constance: Yes. It blows me away how helpful everyone is!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. The encouragement from others keeps me going:) I love offering to read for other writers and sharing what I've learned too.

  9. Jill,
    Thanks for the link to my blog! I love sharing with other writers. and I have appreciated the time other writers have taken to look over my stuff. We need each other.

  10. Thanks for the great recommendations! I think th ebiggwest way I try to help is by commenting and regularly reading their blogs. It feels so good to have a following of devoted readers so I try to be that for others.

  11. Wonderful post, Jill. Great suggestions for how to help others--and what help to ask for--while on the writing journey. You are a BIG help to those of us lucky enough to know you.

  12. Excellent post Jill! The writing community is one of the most expressive and supportive communities I've ever known. There are so many budding writers out there that hear the worst of the publishing industry. Were it not for the support of the community they would have given up. You're an astounding source of support for everyone lucky enough to know you. Did I mention Epic?

  13. Great post, Jill! I've always found the romance writing community to be so giving to one another...makes me wish all aspects of my life had this kind of support. :)

  14. It would be awfully lonely without fellow writers. We are very blessed to have this opportunity for fellowship. The important thing to remember is not to take it for granted.

  15. I love helping fellow writers and recently wrote a blurb for a soon-to-be-published friend. Being supportive is the kind of thing that seems to come easy, at least to the writers I know! It's awesome.

  16. Terri: You are so generous with your time. You're a huge blessing to me!

    Jessica: Me too! I don't know what I would do without other writers!

    Angela C: I agree. Your blog is so helpful too. I love how you give detailed advice on how to stay motivated and meet our goals.

    Patrice: Good point--sometimes we're too intimidated to ask others for help. But writers are happy to help!

    P.W.: You're right. Writers hear horror stories about how competitive it is, but the business is competitive, not the writers. I like the way you put that!

    Kristina: Oh wouldn't that be nice? A support group for keeping the house clean, raising kids, even buying groceries! Yes!

    Cassandra: It would be lonely. Most of us write from home. You guys are like my co-workers!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  17. I think I saw a FRASIER episode on the very subject of blurbs. Frasier was offered the chance to give a blurb on a friend’s book. Without going into the entire episode, of course, he didn’t like her writing and it cost him dearly. It would be difficult to blurb a friend’s book.

    After reading many agent and writer’s blogs for a few years, I am finding that there are places where writer’s encourage and help each other. Facing a blank page or a rejection isn’t such a lonely place anymore. Jill, (and others, as I’m discovering you and your blogs) thanks for your encouragement, and sharing your experience and knowledge with networking greenhorns like me.

  18. I love writing reviews on Amazon, etc., for a book that moves me or makes me laugh. And I love to visit lovely blogs like yours. :)

  19. I like your idea of emailing authors I may not be connected with through other social media (fb and twitter are not regular for me). Recently I had our book club read a fellow blogger and she will now be speaking at our next meeting. Supporting others can come back to us, doubling what we gave in the first place!

  20. I help other writers by being part of their support system. :-)

  21. I spent my first two years writing in isolation. When I discovered the wonderful world of writers awaiting me in cyberspace, one of the first things that struck me was how generous and supportive writers are. I've learned so much from others and endeavor to pay it forward.

  22. If I read a great new book, I tell others about it. I enjoy having writing groups in my home from time to time, and I love hearing about my blog readers getting good results and encouraging them.

  23. You've had some killer posts lately, Jill. This one is great!

    Funny thing.

    I'm reading and preparing to write my very first endorsement. I feel a little silly. Like, "Who am I to write an endorsement?" Yet I'm honored to have been asked all the same.

  24. Very interesting post. I don't know that I'd feel comfortable writting a blurb for another writers work but I do find other ways to support other writers. I'm active on goodreads and twitter and love sharing good news and good reads.

  25. I buy their books, of course! Or visit their blogs if they're not published. As many as I can reasonably visit.

  26. Susan Quinn: Definitely! Helping writers comes easily--I think we all want to see each other succeed!

    Loree: Sounds like a funny Frasier episode! I'm thrilled to have you here. I think many authors don't realize what a great community of writers the Internet provides. Networking doesn't have to be a dirty word!

    Sarah F: Aw, thanks! I've only recently started writing reviews on Goodreads and I love doing it.

    Lynn: How cool! I love hearing things like that. Your book club sounds fun!

    Melissa: You sure do!

    Keli: You always pay it forward. I understand about the isolation. My first year of serious writing was spent all on my lonesome. Then I discovered a few writers' blogs and the rest is history!

    Nancy: I tell my friends about good books too. Sometimes I browbeat them a little bit into reading them!

    Katie: Thank you! Yay for endorsements! And it's funny, but I know how you feel. Stand tall and be proud--you ARE worthy of giving endorsements!

    Sondrae: I hear you! I'm new to Goodreads, but we're a match made in heaven. I'll look you up!

    Jill: That's the best way! And hey, we all know we can't read every blog every day!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  27. I just joined a small writers group at my local library. Encouraging to meet all these authors in my own town. Found out how helpful critiques of my writing can be. Just beginning to check out blogs on writing as part of my research for writing my memoir.

  28. Terrific post! I've met some new authors/bloggers online recently by clicking through to their blogs from their comments on friends' blogs. We're a community and writing is tough. We need to encourage, support, and pray for one another. I hope that's what I do for others.

  29. I don't know some of those bloggers, so thanx for the intro! As for blurbs I have big plans. I hope they match what God has in store, but secretly I'm hoping He will blow me out of the water with His. =) Doesn't he love us so?

  30. Hi Jill, This post has opened my eyes, yet again. I've been writing in complete isolation and feel like a wonderful group of writing friends has just showed up at my door and announced this as our new meeting place! How fun is that?! (I'm still trying to figure out how to keep up with everyone and still manage to make the writing goals for each day. I'll be looking for a blog on that topic.) But I'm so happy to have my foot in the door. It's been lonely and sometimes discouraging out here. I look forward to checking out these new Blog Sites, and offering what support I can to others. And thanks again, Jill for being so welcoming to us new folks. We will pass it on!

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  32. I'm constantly amazed at how generous writers and bloggers are with their time and information. It's one gigantic information pool, and I love swimming with the rest of you!

  33. Patricia S: How wonderful! Local writer's groups can be such a treasure. And I agree with you about critiquing. I learn so much from my cp's!

    Lisa J: You do, woman, you do!

    Tana: Yes! He has big plans--it's exciting to see what He has in store, isn't it?

    Kristen T: They're terrific--enjoy!

    Patti M: Yay!! Writing doesn't have to be isolating. The online community amazes me more and more. It's like a cushion for the actual task. So glad you're here!

    Julie M: So true! I love swimming with everyone too. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  34. Jill:
    At church last Wednesday, our associate pastor asked me if I had seen where they were putting together a devotional booklet for Lent. She asked me if I knew of anyone else in the church who wrote. I told her of one. Then, later, I passed the information onto two more people who are interested in writing.

  35. I think writers are very generous. What other group tries to teach others how to replace them? Not many. I try to visit blogs as often as I can to leave encouraging words. There's just not enough time in the day. ;)


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