Sorry I’m late posting today. I am in bed with the PLAGUE (okay, fine, just the flu) but the fever is making me downright miserable, and the headache, body aches, and stomach pain and nausea is really a PITA.
Speaking of PITAs, on a writing list to which I belong, there is a certain individual who has been writing suspense/thriller fiction for years, and yet said person really should not be writing at all.
I am compassionate to unpublished writers, and especially those with special challenges, but this person simply REFUSES to listen to others, and really only wants to hear what SHE believes to be truth.
So, say, if she asks a question, and you answer it, and she doesn’t like the answer, she will find twenty five different WAYS to ask the question, hoping perhaps someone will validate her belief.
If you are patient, you are peppered with more questions, all the same question, really, reworded, jumbled and making no sense. If you get impatient, and tell her so, you are rewarded with long missives about her learning disabilities, and angry taunts about how you have no right to tell her what to do, and how she doesn’t have to listen to you.
This person will never change, and I realize this. But it got me thinking. How many people join writing groups, with little knowledge of writing, and actually GET something out of them?
I really didn’t know much about BOOK writing when I got started. Yes, I had written for the newspaper and edited, etc., but I had not studied the mechanics and process of writing a book, and so there were many things that I did not know. After a lot of writing rejections, I joined an online writing group, and I will NEVER, ever regret it.
The IWW, or Internet Writing Workshop, is one of the very best critique groups on the Net. Although I no longer belong, I will always remember the people I met there, and the growth that I saw in my OWN writing during that time. Deborah LeBlanc and I actually “met” on that writing workshop, and have maintained a friendship–both professional and personal–ever since.
Deb and I also found ourselves with publishing contracts at around the same time, which helped cement our friendship.
Other online groups are helpful with marketing, and answering questions, and some are just for support. As my career has taken off, I’ve found I now have little time for online groups, and offering support to newer writers, and this pains me some. I realize how much help it was TO ME when writers with more experience offered help to me.
So, with that in mind, I tried to help the above-mentioned person. And instead got smacked-down. I really should have known better, having past experience with this person. But having HAD past experience, I thought if I explained it succintly and in simple terms, the same question asked twenty-million-different-ways would stop. It did not.
I decided simply to remove myself from further discussion with said person. But I do want to help other writers. So, I’m wondering? What are the best ways to offer support and help to unpublished writers? Have you ever helped an unpubbed writer? If you are pubbed now, did you have a mentor?