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A WRITER'S WORLD

A Writer's World

by Molly Moynahan

How to be Helpful

First, return favors. If someone does you a favor, try to do one back. If someone spends hours helping you solve a writing problem with your book or script or essay, thank them and if you are a Facebook or Twitter person, make the thanks public. It’s good for others to understand even published writers need help, and it’s good to acknowledge that help.

Make yourself available to offer similar aid.

Second, be happy for other people’s success. If you can support another writer by purchasing their book or attending a reading or sharing your delight in something they’ve written, do so. If you can think of anyone that could help your writer friend get more exposure share that information.

morman mailer

Lose the mindset that whispers, “hoard, hide, protect.”

Be mindful of social network announcements and try to comment or share if your friends have a great review or something. This can become burdensome if your friend is one of those people who uses Facebook solely as a marketing tool. Don’t do that. Comment on other people’s status updates. Create a separate page for your “business” if necessary.

Be generous. You have no idea of the effect you can have on a writer searching to find his or her voice. If someone asks for help, see what is required. If it’s something you should be paid for, tell the person, and quote a reasonable fee. It’s healthy to regard yourself as a professional. You are a professional.

harold brodkey

Share your setbacks as well as your successes. It may seem counter-intuitive to reveal failure, but it is a powerful way to connect. Everyone has been disappointed, rejected or ignored. Your story could help another writer persevere.

Both Norman Mailer and Harold Brodkey, two uber successful writers told me how insecure they were about their work, and told me to never give up.

Alice Adams, a wonderful writer, especially of short stories, published many times in The New Yorker, wrote that whenever she isn’t currently published, she feels lost.

alice adams

When I taught at Brooklyn College I used to commute to Manhattan with Alan Ginsberg and he spoke of struggling with his career and the publishing world.

Knowing that writers whom I regarded as immune to self-hatred struggled with their muse and their self-regard, kept me from giving up. Be honest, be encouraging, and be generous. The universe will pay you back a hundred-fold.

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