Never reach a leave of self satisfaction or success that you feel no one can help you or you can help someone else.
You decided to try your hand at writing. Regardless of what area of this broad field to venture into – blogging, journalism, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, etc – you are going to reach a point where people will eventually know your name. When that happens people who you think never knew your name will drop from the sky for advice or help on their first writing project. This is not a time for you to tense up. This is where you will begin to show your true colors. I can not tell you how disappointing it is to a fan to reach out for advice, assistance, or direction as a new author and the people that I’ve supported for years did not acknowledge me. Even if these people never purchase your book, read your article, hear you spit (poetry term), or pick up your magazine the fact that they thought enough of you to seek your help should be enough for you to at least answer their questions.
I understand that you may not always be in a position to give every person the individual attention that you may want to. Maybe you’re at a book fair or signing and you have a ton of spectators shouting questions at you. Answer the ones you can and keep moving. You may be stopped after a church and you need to be heading to a family function or publicity event. Talk to that brother or sister for a few minutes. Give them your card, set a follow up with them and be on your way. Let me share something with you.
About a year before I completed my book, an important person in my life at that time shared what I was doing with some she new who had gone through the process through the same route that I choose. This person sent word that if I needed help or a word of advice to reach out to them. When that time came, I did. But it took forever for the person to get back to me and when they did they said for me to continue to reach out if I had more questions. During that time, friendships dissolved and that person has yet to answer anymore of my questions.
I shared that story so you would know how not to be. This person has gone on to continue to be a success in the industry. However, you don’t want to step on the smaller people to get there. This author may not feel as if that is what happens but it is especial when this person that is reaching out to you are buying your books.
Until God calls you home, you will forever be a work in progress. Therefore, you don’t be afraid to seek the help even when you believe that you don’t need it. You will be surprised what you will learn by allowing someone else the opportunity to give you advice on your work. As a novelist, your readers will always be a source of inspiration for a future project. As a poet, you can draw inspiration from everything and nothing. However, in order to receive that insight, you have to be open to.
I tell people all the time that the thought never crossed my mind growing up to be a author or publisher. I always knew that I wanted to go into business for myself. I always like the arts and the creative process. But I did not see this coming. In fact, English was my worst subject in school. I have http://www.webster.com saved to my favorites on every computer that I use and the application on my Blackberry plus a Thesaurus and Dictionary on my work station. I tell you this because I know that I have great ideas but they can fall apart if I don’t use my resources. And even when I have the wording right, I can still miss it. I’m not perfect and I don’t profess to be. And that is why I have people in my life that I can run things by.
My ex-wife edited the first half of Long Distance Relations before we split. My mom and younger sister also served as editors on that project. These are people who I knew were stronger in that area. All of them have admitted that they don’t fell as if they could have put a book together in the same fashion as I did. And that’s not to boost or brag but to show you how a great team works together. IF you have the mentality that because she is your ex or their younger then you and they can’t help you, you will have a hard climb to the top. Lighten that load and let others help you get there.
The bottom line is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want other people to help you, help someone else. If you want to be the best you can in writing, allow those around you to pour into you and you may get there faster. IF you don’t think you need help, you’ll soon realize that you do.