Thursday, May 28, 2009

Maybe I'm Crazy

By Nichole Giles

A long time ago, someone asked me why I worry so much about helping other authors with their writing. If I pay good money to go to a conference, why would I try to pass on what I’ve learned to my friends who didn’t go? Why do I allow so much of my valuable writing time for helping critique the work of others? Aren’t they my competition? Isn’t it to my detriment in the long run?

Um, no. Far from it.

Here’s the truth. I help others instinctively because it’s in my nature. But more than that, I remember when I started writing, and how lost I felt, and how much the direction of others helped to mold and shape my techniques. Still does, to be honest. I rely on the instructions and advice of my author friends—published and unpublished—to help me learn and grow. That’s how it works. I help them, and they help me. We all help each other. (We’re a happy family…)

I’d even go so far as to say it’s why we’re here on earth. We learn from each other, and help each other, and watch each other grow and succeed. Life is not a competition to be won, but more a journey where each of us has failures and successes to discover what it means to truly be compassionate people. Good people. Successful people.

If I should ever become the best selling author I hope to be, dare I call it karma? Some might say, “You worked so hard, you’ve earned it,” but I’m not so sure. Can success truly be earned? Certainly it’s not something to which any of us are automatically entitled. In the long run, will I look back and know that I’ve done everything I could to help my friends be successful too?
Call me crazy, but I want that. Really, truly want that for them. Strange as it might sound, I want these people to find success, to be published, and have their books be hugely popular. I want to go to conferences or big conventions and look around and see all my friends sitting at tables signing their books for enormous lines of adoring fans.

Last week, the winner of American Idol was announced. The winner’s face registered incredulity that proved him absolutely floored at the news that he’d won. He thanked the judges and the audience, but some of the first words out of his mouth were, “Adam deserved this.” (Adam being the other final contestant in the contest.) Not, “I deserved this,” but someone else. His friend.

The news reporters then went on for days about how the contestants had all become close friends, and how they wanted to help each other succeed, to see them do well. As I watched these stories I thought: Yes. That’s how I feel. I want to see my friends succeed as badly as I want to succeed myself.

Is that crazy? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe I’m kidding myself that life can actually work that way. But I want to believe it’s possible. I have to believe it. Because as much as my head wishes I would hurry up and get that big deal I’ve been waiting for—and that all my friends will get them too—my heart knows that it will all come in good time. I might shed a few tears in the process, but my time will come.

Just like it will come for my friends. And I hope to be there, jumping up and down and cheering for all of them, knowing they’ve worked every bit as hard as me. And they deserve it too.


Carolyn V. said...

Although, I have found a few worms in the apples,when I started writing, I was surprised how wonderful the writing community was to me and to those around them.

I think you were one of the first people to let me in and I am so thankful for your friendship.

I am totally coming to your first book signing! =) Thanks Nichole!

One Cluttered Brain said...

I realize you probably don't know me but I went to the LDS writer's conference last month. I desperately need a writer's critique group. I signed up for Author's Incognito but do ya get together with them and talk about your work? How does this critique thing work? And how do you know people aren't gonna steal your stuff? Just curious. I just started working on a romance novel. I'm kinda excited!

Nichole Giles said...

Awesome, Carolyn! Wanna share a table?


Nichole Giles said...

OCB, I'm really sorry, I don't know anyone by that name. =) But if I saw you, I'd likely remember. I'm terrible with names, but great with faces.

Did you actually get an invitation to join AI then? We have lots of authors in the group, and sometimes groups of people who live near each other get together for in person critique groups. We also have an online group that is extremely helpful.

I can't promise that you'll never come across authors who will attempt to steal your work, but I think its a chance you have to take when you're starting. And I can assure you we've never had a problem like that in Author's Incognito--nothing even similar. It's a fabulous, amazing group of people.

Go ahead and accept that invitation. We'd love to have you!

Lori Conger, said...

I don't think you're crazy at all; in fact, I appreciate your insight and willingness to help. It's kinda like you have a small piece of success with all your friends, and I think that's a pretty good way to go. I love to help people, too (sometimes my husband wishes I wasn't so eager to volunteer), but writing is something I'm still working hard to learn myself. Anyway, I loved your post.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks Lori! I think you're right--their success helps me feel successful.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that we'll spend the rest of our lives learning to write--no matter how many books we have published or how many of them become bestsellers. Or not. The truth is, there's always something new to learn from each other.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Keith Fisher said...

Maybe you are crazy but thanks for helping me.