Thursday, January 27, 2011
BEING A WRITER'S ADVOCATE
I can't help myself, I'm an insatiable cheerleader. As a writer, one takes many hits to their self-esteem, art, and sometimes ego. But for some reason we are gluttons for punishment. Becoming a writer's advocate, aka: cheerleader, supporter, encourager and defender happened strictly by accident. However, if you are a writer, or someone who seeks to become one - find your own cheerleader. Trust me, it will be the greatest lift you need in this difficult journey from creating a draft to chipping away at your masterpiece.
HOW DID IT ALL START
When I first started writing I sought out online communities to support my writing. I had finished a full manuscript that was ... in bad shape I must say, but I thought I was ready for the next step. I started submitting some samples of my work and let me tell you - if I didn't have tough skin, I would have folded. People on some forums can be sooooooo mean, nonsupportive and will rip you (yes you personally) and your work to shreds. I didn't give up though, I know my story had great potential. Luckily, I stumbled on a place called Absolute Write (www.absolutewrite.com/forums). Although, there were some meanies there, there was many more supportive writers who encouraged me, gave positive and useful feedback on my work, as well as great advice.
THE LIGHT BULB
Even though Absolute write was great, I was a YA writer and wanted - no needed, a focus on the type of writing I did. Also, I really desired a more supportive place to hang out. A place where...quite frankly someone helped me instead of ripping my work to shreds. By chance I happen to be on twitter and found this hashtag for yalitchat. Shortly after Georgia McBride took it offline to a www.yalitchat.ning.com and writers of like minds helped Georgia build a highly supportive, learning and enriching place to hang out.
It was in that environment that I got the thirst to help other writers grow in a supportive environment - some place that wouldn't tear them down, but help them create their own masterpiece. I joined the Moderators on the YALitchat site. Thereafter, I got involved in a local writing community, I became the coordinator for the Editor and Agent recruitment for our conferences. Then I headed up the writing internship recruitment where I was able to be a personal motivator to young writers graduating from college.
Let's just say - it was the most rewarding, amazing thing I've ever done. In doing so, I've mentored over five authors and two of which are now published.
HOW YOU CAN BE AN ADVOCATE
Get involved. Support new writers. Join an organization that has the same purpose and start one of the most rewarding gifts of being a writer - the gift to be able to enlighten and improve another persons journey. The journey that can make or break a person more deeply than anything else. Being a writer can do that when you get feedback from some beta readers, when your work is rejected over and over by lit agents or publishers. At the end of the day, with a mind for blazing your own path, anyone whether a writer or not, can reach the stars with a cheerleader behind them.