I’m a huge proponent of paying it forward. Mostly because when I was coming up in the writing world, I couldn’t get a published author to talk to me, much less take me under her wing and give me a few crumbs of advice. I’m not bitter about it, not even angry. It made me work harder and understand that it was on me, myself and I to get published, no one else. It wasn’t until after a few years of trying to break into publishing that I met Natalie Collins. She had recently sold, and was the first published author to not only give me the time of day but let me know she was there for me. I will never forget her kindness and am forever grateful to her.
While I don’t have the time I used to have, and have learned that not everyone accepts constructive criticism as it was meant to be: constructive, I still do what I can to pay it forward. No, I don’t read work like I used to, nor do I mentor, and while I keep saying I’m going to do my First Line contest again, I have no burning desire to make it happen. I’m tired. Not physically, but my brain is tired. I’ve learned to say no, and feel like crap when I do, but the work was/is suffering. So, I’ve had to back down and focus on what pays my bills: my writing.
That isn’t to say I’m not around or I don’t lend a hand. You all know I’m a fb floozie, and when I see a damsel in distress, I reach out to her. And each time I do, while I hold my breath telling myself to look the other way and get back to my own writing, I’m always glad I reached out. Because it doesn’t take long. A little help with a query or a first chapter or the dreaded synopsis doesn’t take much out of me. And if I’m perfectly honest, I enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge of breaking down and rebuilding a query letter, or a two or three page synopsis, or even identifying issues and reworking a first chapter.
My offer is always conditional: I’ll get to it when I can, which always seems to turn out to be immediately. I can’t seem to put it aside when it’s sitting there in my documents staring at me. So, I just do it. And even though I’ve taken time from my writing, I’m always smiling when I get back to it.
So, with that, I’m in a pay it forward mood: all you have to do is tell me what you’ve recently done to pay it forward (not necessarily writing specific but in life), I’ll pick a commenter and critique either a one page query, one page synopsis or the first three pages of your first chapter. If none of the above apply, I’ll send you either a $15 BN or Amazon egift cert. Deal?
PS, Edie’s winner from two weeks ago when she subbed for me is Maria Esquivel! Maria email Edie at firstname.lastname@example.org