Writers, Support Other Writers

Today’s unplanned topic comes from a conversation on Twitter, which starts here:

First, it’s preposterous to me that someone should get upset about content warnings. Trauma is real. Giving someone a chance to look away and avoid something that will unsettle them is a low risk, low effort kindness. Maybe some people use them for other purposes, but who cares?

It turns out that the guy that blocked Chad is another author, and that really stuck in my craw. As Chad points out, “Why try to find other readers when we can tear each other down.”

Writing is hard work. It takes an incredible amount of time and commitment of energy and focus. Writers should know this.

We should be building each other up and supporting each other. I know what I’ve gone through while writing my novels. I’ve spent time querying and have experienced the bitter taste of rejection. While most people have given me positive feedback for my stories, I know what it’s like when one doesn’t quite land. Being a writer brings me incredible joy and satisfaction, but it can be harrowing, and I know that every other writer out there has gone through some of what I’ve experienced. Many have had it worse.

The right thing to do is recognize the shared commitment and pain, then offer whatever support we can afford. Kindness is often the greatest gift we can give, and it’s free.

I have read some stories from less prestigious writers that didn’t land for me, and I’m not going to publicly bash them. It doesn’t benefit them, and it doesn’t reflect well on me, either. I’ll criticize authors with bigger names when it’s appropriate, because a bad review from me won’t hurt them. But in general, it’s better to just say nothing at all if I don’t have something nice to say.

As writers, we should buy each other coffee. When we’re happy with another writer’s work, we should shout it from the summit of Social Media Mountain.

We’re colleagues. Coworkers. For the most part, we are not in competition with each other. We’re all carving out parts of our soul with an ice cream scoop and dolloping it onto the page for prospective readers. It should not be that hard to have sympathy for people going through the same thing as us.