Paying it Forward and Asking for Help by Laurie Calkhoven

By this point in the month, my fellow bloggers have pretty much covered the Paying it Forward theme. I’ve been trying to think of something new and different, and finally cried uncle and decided to turn the conversation in a new direction: asking for help.

Like many other children’s writers, I love to visit schools to talk about reading and writing. I also teach writing workshops at SCBWI conferences and, sometimes, in friends’ living rooms. Both are things I’d like to do more of, but I’ve never been very good at promoting myself. And while teachers, librarians, and writers have always been positive about their experiences in my visits and workshops, I’ve never been very good at asking for recommendations.

Over the past few months I’ve been trying to change that.

When someone tells me they learned a lot from one of my workshops: “Would you mind sending me a blurb for my website?”

When a conference organizer says something similar: “Would you recommend me to other SCBWI chapters?”

When a school librarian tells me that I excited and inspired her students: “Are there other schools in your area I should contact? Can I use your name?”

When an adult reader tells me how much they enjoyed one of my books: “Would you mind posting a review on one of the online bookselling sites?”

I’m always happy to help out fellow writers and readers, but I’m not comfortable asking for help myself. But I’m starting to get used to asking the questions. Some people say yes and never follow through (which is fine, people are busy). But mostly they’re happy to help—all I need to do is ask.

Now if only I could find the time to update my website........


  1. Threse are great questions! Promoting is hard, but your suggestions are gentle yet effective. Thanks!

  2. Totally understand this. I've learned most people LOVE to be asked!

  3. Great ideas, Laurie! Thank you! And I think Holly is on to something - I think most people love to be asked and to help. Happy Holidays, y'all! May 2015 be your best year yet!

  4. Promoting is definitely one of the most difficult things for me, too. I loved your questions.


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