Thursday, November 08, 2012

How to Help a Writer

 Our Pumpkins from our Garden

In my many years of mentoring writers I’ve learned what it takes to really help a writer. I’m here to give you some tips on a writer helping writers.

1) Encourage: This one should be a given, but there are some writers out there who think it is their task to bombard a writer with malicious critique. Which only disillusions a writer and makes them run for the door. My mother always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all.” I think my mother, along with many others are right on this one.

2) Support: This is also a given. A writer that doesn’t have the support she needs to get through writing say her novel or short story, may never make it through 500 words nevertheless 50,000 words.  Stand by the writer in the family, group, or friend who only needs your support to get them through.

3) Critique: This is one where you tread lightly. While all of us love an honest critique, I have never met a writer who welcomed harsh critique. That goes against a writer helping a writer.

4) Be nice: What? You need ME to tell you to be nice? That’s sad. But I have ran into quite a few mean-spirited people in my day who want to claim to be a writer, but they go against EVERYTHING in this list of how-to’s, who target one writer, and tries everything in their power to take a person down. Shame on you! And you call yourself a writer?

5) Befriend: Befriending a writer is a good thing. If you surround yourself with like-minded folk, then it can only benefit your journey and keep you moving forward instead of backward.

6) Respect: Respect others opinion and take it with a grain of salt. That has helped me the most in writing. Not all people are going to be positive but even the negative, when turned into a positive, can be beneficial.

7) Network: Yes sir, you’re going to need a network of writers to help you especially when it comes promotion time of your work.

8) Gentle criticism: This is needed for all writers. Yes we want to hear our work is good but we also might need assistance in the grammar department or punctuation rules. Be gentle in offering assistance. Don’t throw your hands up in the air when someone misses a comma, or has lousy punctuation skills! Be gentle with your words. You KNOW the affect words have on people.

9) Motivate: Motivating a writer is essential. When you see someone not getting the encouragement he or she needs, they lose their ability to be motivated in continuing their writing journey. A lot of times writers block will set in and it is hard to get out of that slump. With the proper motivation, they can be led back to their writing, thus fulfilling their desired destiny.

10) Be there: Be there to see them through all ten of these steps. You do realize that it is you that is going to make or break this writer. I never met a writer who did not benefit from all of what I’m saying.


M. SUE said...

As I read this post, the same thought came to mind through each step of the ten, "How would I want to be treated?" Hopefully, most of us have been taught to think of and care about how others feel. Applying these thoughts to the necessary steps can help us be better supports to others while a side benefit to ourselves is we gain a great feeling for having helped others along the way!
It's a little like a hug: you can't give one without getting one back!
Sending smiles,
Auntie Sue

joni said...

You'd be surprised how many really ignore all that they were taught.

Did ya like my pumpkin pic??? From our very own garden, no less! :)