When I worked in sales, this principle was, “Help a Friend or Buddy.” What this meant was always take a recruit with me to meetings, other recruit interviews, my sales parties, and out prospecting for more new customers. In the more traditional business world, this meant always be developing other leaders. As a writer this means lending a helping hand to fellow writers however I can.
Why do I think this is so important? One of the main reasons is my enjoyment of learning, and in turn, teaching others. This entire blog is dedicated to walking aspiring writers like myself walk through the trials and tribulations of writing a novel and getting it published. This love of helping others is deep rooted in my being: my father was a teacher (and still is) and I was corporate trainer for five years. I'm still committed to training and developing others in my corporate job as a manager. There's also an ancient lesson that says when you share talents with the world, your riches come back one hundredfold.
I have always thought that the direct sales industry has done a better job of giving incentives to who develop other leaders than the corporate world. In the corporate world, we sometimes only see the downside of what happens when team members are promoted out. As a writer, some of the benefits for helping others isn't as clear cut as receiving bonuses of any sort.
For me, one of the benefits of helping other writers, is making sure I follow my own advice. Before I gently remind fellow writing buddies if they are writing at least fifteen minutes a day, I pause and do a reality check on my own writing habits. (See my other posts on developing routines, I've been doing much better lately, and more to come on that subject later this week.)
Another benefit is a network of support. I am slowly creating a group of individuals whom I can count on for honest feedback on my writing. I am in the midst of writing my first novel and haven't made it available online until I have had at least one writing buddy review the piece before I post it. Up until this post, most of my blog posts have been reviewed before I made a public announcement that I had made an update to my blog.
A final benefit to helping others is respect and support of the writing community. In an effort to improve my writing and model my career after other successful writers, I make it habit to review the web sites and blogs of other fiction writers. Whenever I read anything by a writer I've not read before, I take a few minutes to review their web sites. I am particularly attracted to writers who have a section on their web sites that include resources and advice for writers. Marie Bostwick's site is one such site that review often. You can visit her at http://mariebostwick.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1 (don't forget to right click and open in new tab or window or your will navigate way from the rest of the blog post.) My previous post about finding a buddy focused on what you could gain from a writing friend. Be sure that you are a writing friend in turn and provide the support that you seek.