Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't Forget to Share...

And no, I don't mean gossip...but seriously, isn't this picture just too cute for words?

Ok, back on topic...Betsy's fantastic post about encouraging other writers yesterday made me immediately remember an idea I'd planned to write about long, long ago. You know back before I got really busy and disappeared for a while...

I always said that if I had any measure of success as a writer that I'd share what I knew with others who aspired to do the same. And while I haven't exactly hit the New York Times' bestseller list yet (but boy, would I ever freak out if I did), I've had many opportunities to do just that—and it's been one of the most rewarding things about the writing life.

Back when I was the new kid on the block in Nashville and had just started working for CCM Magazine, my editorial assistant duties mostly considering of typing and html coding back issue copy (apparently, just scanning it in wouldn't work). And considering the magazine had already been in print for twenty-something years when I started, well, there was lots and lots and lots of typing to do.

And because there was sooo much typing, I was pretty sure I wouldn't actually be writing for a good, long while. But before I contracted the hideous case of carpal tunnel that I often stayed awake worrying about, one of my editors surprised me with a short feature writing assignment. It was only 400 words, but to me, it was the equivalent of being asked to pen a sequel to The Great Gatsby.

Once I turned it in, other opportunities started becoming available to me, too, and I was immediately struck by the generosity of my superiors. Sure, they were also writers, but they had no qualms about introducing me to people who could help further my career, too. And once those very people left CCM, they made sure to keep me in the loop for other editorial projects as well. Plus, whenever I needed career advice, they were more than happy to meet for coffee or chat over dinner, and that encouragement was pivotal in me launching my own freelance writing business.

So long story short, that's exactly what I try to do now. I've had four different interns in the past couple of years, and teaching them the proverbial tools of the trade has been such a joy. I see the same hunger and passion for writing in their eyes that I had in the beginning, and pointing them in a helpful direction so they can succeed—or even sharing my contacts with them—is an absolute pleasure.

See, there's always enough writing to go around, no matter how competitive the market, so I guess what I'm trying to say is sharing is definitely the way to go. And when you do so, you never know what might be around the corner when you're generous with your own resources...

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