Friday, December 5, 2014
Paying It Forward - December Theme by Deborah Lytton
When I first joined the writing community, and specifically, the children's book writing community, I was struck by the welcome I received. Having been an actress, I was used to competitiveness from colleagues. Even when they pretended to be my friends, there was always an underlying edge to their friendship. But with children's book writers, I encountered real friendship. My first experience reaching out to another writer was at the request of a non-writing friend, who said, "Oh, I know this person who has had several books published. Maybe you can talk to her about your book." Now, in the acting business, this would usually amount to exactly nothing. I doubt another actress would have even returned my call. But I reached out to this writer anyway. And the most amazing thing happened--not only did she talk to me about writing and publishing, but she gave me incredibly good advice and even sent my book to her agent. But this wasn't an isolated incident. Every single time I have reached out to another writer for advice or a critique, that writer has responded with help. Because writing is a community. And although we are all in the same field, we only benefit from one another's success. Every time another writer signs a publishing deal or hits the bestseller list, this is a success for me, too. These other writers taught me to pay it forward so that when writers reach out to me for advice or critiques, I try to give back. To give back to the community that nurtures me and supports me. At the end of the day, I know that the other writers out there who are doing what I am doing truly understand this journey, and I want to help them as much as they have helped me. I call that truly paying it forward.