Friday, October 15, 2010

Continuation on a Theme

Linda LaRoque's post about mentoring brought up an interesting question:
Do writers have a responsibility to help new writers when asked? Did someone mentor you, help you develop your craft?

To address the first part, the short answer in my opinion is "yes." It's part of the larger experience of becoming a more humane being. Any time someone asks you for help, when they swallow their timidity and lay their vulnerability out there to come to you, yes. Call it Karma or Golden Rule or Pay it Forward, but you must give when asked. The next step is the tricky part: how much do you give?

I've been in organizations where I have given my time, shared my knowledge, and gone to bat for people I thought were friends - and got steamrolled. This has happened a number of times, in a number of aspects of my life, and hurt like hell each time. So I don't jump into groups any more. But when asked, I share my experiences in a way that I hope will let that person avoid pitfalls I plunged through. In fact, a few fellow authors and I are putting together a six-hour, one-day workshop called "Write Start for Fiction" for writers in the Tucson area that will address the real basics: How to format a manuscript, How to choose your book's genre, The importance of Editing, etc.It's still in the planning stages but we've booked a conference room in a central hotel for Saturday, February 19, 2011. We'll keep the cost reasonable and five of us will teach different segments. So when someone asks me in the next few months, I don't have to repeat myself too often. I can tell them to come to the workshop and benefit not only from my sharing but four other writers and their publishing experiences as well.

As to the second question, yes, I was mentored by a number of generous and wise writers. Rhys Bowen, the award-winning mystery author, has been especially kind. My good friend and fellow Champagne Author Carol Costa has been a delightful influence. Maybe that's why I also feel the need to share what I've learned - am still learning - from them.

To me, it's all about the positive energy you give into the universe that reflects back to you in ways you may never imagine. As George Harrison said, "And in the end/the love you take/ is equal to the love/ you make." Caring to make another writer's experience just that much easier can only increase the good energy in your own writing.

Jude Johnson
My first novel with Champagne Books, Dragon & Hawk, is scheduled for release in April 2011.
Website:  www.Scorched Hawk


Linda LaRoque said...

Here, here, Jude! I couldn't agree more.