I love to celebrate the successes of my fellow writers and here is why.
I could stand in an empty field in a thunderstorm and wait for lightening to strike. But that sounds lonely and scary. Instead, I’d rather connect with a vibrant group of writers and let the collective friction of our creative energy fire off a spark.
When that happens, I want to be connected – to the writer, to their creative process, and hopefully to their manuscript. After all, I don’t want that spark to have to jump very far.
Think of a circle of writers holding hands, or a football team huddled with their arms slung over each other’s backs – think how easily that electric spark will flow from one writer to the next when we are that connected.
So how do we connect?
We connect at conferences when we chat about craft. We build deeper connections when we form a critique group or take a workshop together. These moments offer opportunities not only to nurture our own writing journey, but to nurture the process of another writer. And to really and truly connect, you have to really and truly nurture. That means that when you hear a writer doubting their work after a harsh critique, you offer encouragement. When you read about a new agent looking for a project that describes a manuscript a writing partner shared, you shoot them an email. When you have taken a workshop that was helpful, you spread the word. When your critique partner asks you to read a manuscript, you offer your best and most complete feedback.
Your job is to propel every manuscript you touch forward on the road to publication. Yes, I said every manuscript. If you read it – you own it. Give your best feedback, your best advice, and then encourage the revisions and the submissions. Keep that writer on the path. If you bump into them and they have stalled in the process, fire them up again. Challenge them to set writing goals, and help them stick to them. Tell them to join the 24 Carrot Writing Facebook group (shameless self-promotion).
When you have done this, then you get to celebrate the success of fellow writers. If you have encouraged them in a moment of doubt, given them a pep talk after a harsh rejection, offered constructive feedback on a manuscript, then you have been a part of their success and you will look forward to the day that they are a part of yours.
So, when we hear that a writing friend sold a manuscript – we jump for collective joy!