I have a mousepad that reminds me every day, “Write the book you want to read.” It helps me stay focused on why I write – because I love it.
It also reminds me that there are as many different stories to tell (or, there should be, otherwise that’s just called “plagiarism”) as there are writers who create them, and although there are certain guidelines (tropes) we follow, we are all still unique individuals.
The life of a writer can be…
- Challenging. We take criticism and rejection on a daily basis, and we need figure out how to turn it into a positive to learn from it (as opposed to say… slash our throats, for example).
- Lonely. We write, write, write (hopefully), but we also need to connect with other people so that we aren’t writing, or making decisions, in a vacuum.
- Exhilarating! We do this because we love it, so we need help each other to keep that love alive.
As unique writers and individuals, I believe we also have a responsibility to respect and support each other in as many ways as possible. We all have different goals, dreams, aspirations, wants, desires, etc., but that doesn’t mean we can’t help each other get there and achieve them.
In other words, I may not be a huge fan of young adult dystopia (why yes, I did read both the Hunger Games and the Divergent series), but that doesn’t mean I won’t happily read your first draft and give you my honest feedback if you ask me. Will you read my romantic comedy in return, and tell me what you think of it?
My point is that we are a community, we can help each other without bogging each other down in whether or not our opinions are more important, or more valid, than anyone else’s. I may have chosen to go the self-publishing route, but that doesn’t make me any more or less an author than the writer who has a traditional publishing contract. We both have books on the shelves, and people are reading them.
So, how about this? I’ll buy your book, you buy mine, then let’s go out and have a drink to celebrate our mutual success, and talk about the next project we have churning around in our minds!