Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Writer's Responsibility

    You are a writer, you have a story or two published, maybe a book or two, you attend a critique group. Perhaps you are not yet published, however you write everyday and plan, one day, to send in that manuscript.
    What also comes with being a WRITER? Responsibility to help others as you have been helped. Why not? How did you get where you are? Where do you find information on how to format a story, outline a book, or create an opening hook? How did you meet your first agent or publisher? Some of you did it on your own, but you had to use some specialized skills to create your tag line and write your query letters. Where did that information come from? It all comes down to one fact: you had help. If you can’t think of one person currently in your life helping you to improve your skills in writing, publishing or marketing, then think back to college, high school and grade school. Someone taught you to love words and how to use them. Now it is your turn, your responsibility to give.
    You can do more than attend a monthly meeting, exchange a few words of praise with your fellow writers and then go home to write more. Participating in the activities of the organization that provides your writing group gives you more opportunity to give back. It does not have to take over your life; it is not a full-time job.
As an example. I joined the Florida Writers Association when I first moved south. I went to critique group meetings for a couple of years and as I learned to critique, I also learned how to deal with problems in my own writing. Two years later, our local leader moved out of state and I volunteered to take over the small group of five. After all, it was only twice a month for a couple of hours.
    Soon, with more writers joining, we moved from a private house to a large bookstore and from there to a public library where more people joined. Our group became unwieldy so we created a second group. It was not long before a third group sprouted further north in our region, which suddenly made me a Regional Director for generating two more groups. Then another longstanding group lost its venue at the public library and we became an exclusive Fiction Writers only at a Barnes & Noble store. All but one person was already a member of the FWA and so we, as a group, opted to become a part of the organization.
    Within all of these groups we now have too many published and award-winning authors, to list here, but we all began with one writer helping another. That is the way the industry will continue to grow. It is our responsibility to keep the words alive.

The author, Veronica Helen Hart, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Writers Association, a Regional Director and a Writing Group Leader. She attributes her success in becoming published to the FWA. Not only learning along the way, she has won two Royal Palm Literary Awards, one of those prize winners, The Prince of Keegan Bay, becoming her first published novel. She met her second publisher while schmoozing at a Meet and Greet event at an FWA conference.


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Very true that we should share our knowledge with other writers. Writers, not agents gave me my steps up.

TKToppin said...

Agreed. Wish I had a network of people to advise me when I first started out. Now, I'm open to any who ask a question. What's the word? Paying it forward...

Big Mike said...

Agree big time. Over the last 6 years since my first novel was released I've received so much help and I've tried to reciprocate each opportunity. And don't forget at the local level. Each area has its own writer group and most are whatabees. Great place to share what you've learned.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Liz Fountain said...

It's not only good karma, I think it helps keep us up to date and sharp. In medical school, the formula for learning a procedure is "see one, do one, teach one." It's teaching someone else that really solidifies the learning. So the more we pass along what we've learned, the better we get at it.

Annabel Aidan said...

Terrific post, Veronica. We are all in this together; people have an insatiable need for stories, and there can never be too many good writers. When we support each other, and we help each other succeed, it benefits everyone.

Rita Bay said...

I received so much from my RWA chapter and my critique group that doubles as a blog group - Southern Sizzle Romance. I honestly would not have submitted to any publishers without their encouragement. R.