Supporting Writers

It seems that the way of things has been that I rant on Fridays. I choose something from the long week that got on my nerves and rail against it. I'm not going to do that today. A better idea came to mind, and so I'm going to go with it.  

This is one of those strange creative accident ideas that came to me over the last couple of days. A collision of events got me to thinking about things in a new light, so I'm going to share it.

I know that I often give all sorts of advice about how to do things, I go off on rants, I defend my opinion to the last, but there comes a point where you just have to stop. In this case it's when someone is going to give submitting a shot. There's a case of a guy that I and one of my crit partners knows about. He told everyone that he was going to stop working on his novel and start submitting it. My response, “That's great, good luck.”

My crit partner's response to me was, “What's the matter with you? Are you getting soft on me all of a sudden.”

Honestly, I don't think he should be submitting just yet. The story is good, but . . . it starts with a dream sequence. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn.

That said, I realize that the situation is sort of like when a good friend of mine made the decision to move away for school, or when my other crit partner had to move across the country because of a job opportunity for her husband. In both cases I really didn't want them to go. I wanted to keep them close by and enjoy in their company. But I didn't say so. What I said was, “That's great, you should go for it.”

We have to be able to stop and assess a situation, look at it, not from out view, but from the view of the person living through the decision. Consider when you've made your own mind up about things. You've weighed the choices, and though the decision you've come to is the difficult one, it's the one you're going to do come hell or high water.  

Once that decision has been made the people around us can choose to help or hinder. In all of these cases we want the people we care about to succeed. Although we would much rather keep them near, or help them polish their work a little more, we have to accept that this is the course that they need to take and we need to be there for them.

And on the same day that one author decided to dive into the submission process, another got back the dreaded pass on a second read of her book. In the same span of a week yet another writing friend is going through tough times with her family. As I was typing away at writing group, working on figuring out how I was going to get my character Cara to the hospital in Spark, I overhear her say something about Kara grief support. Mind you, I don't do much talking at writing group so there's no way she could have known that was what I was doing. So that's just . . . weird.

But it led me to their site On the right hand side of the homepage they have a list of what to Do and Don't when it comes to comforting a loved one dealing with loss. It occurs to me that this is one of those cross over situations where we can take something from counseling and apply it directly to writing.

Indeed, losing a loved one is nothing like receiving a rejection letter. I'm definitely not trying to infer that. But I think we can learn from it. When we hear about that rejection our automatic reaction is to jump in with “I know how you feel.” If you check Kara's Don't list, the third one down reads:

DON'T say that you “know how they feel.” (Unless you've experienced their loss yourself you probably don't know how they feel.)

How true is that? We don't know. We don't know how much of themselves they pored into their story. We don't know how many of their characters are based on people from their life that they hope to pay homage to via their book. We didn't sit there with them through all of the revisions and doubts. So no, we don't know how they feel. But it's still the natural reaction to say so.

I think we can all learn a lot from the Kara site. Any time one of our friends gets that dreaded rejection letter for something that they obviously feel strongly about, we should high tail it over to and brush up on how to be there for them. Maybe that will carry over to the more devastating losses in our lives and prepare us with how to be there for our loved ones as well.

This Friday I'm wishing everyone all kinds of success. I hope your ventures come back fruitful, that we can support you along your way, and if per chance that's not how the great divinity has it planned out, that we can be filled with the grace to be there for you in your times of need.

And don't forget to smile. :)

Today's Artists:

The Joy of Summer by trickell, trickell's doing site templates, logos, signatures, and typography design with names in trade for a three month subscription to dA.

Trickell's image is based off of stock art provided by the lovely ballelleb-stock.

Unfairy Tails: Grief by ShouriMajo, Want a unique mugshot? Shouri makes them for $10 a pop. Awesome deal. Follow the link back to her dA page for everything else she does.


Amber J. Gardner said...

Great post. I'm definitely a supporter of...supporting people XD.

I know a lot about loss. It sucks.

You know whats weird though? I got barely any of these DOs. When I lost someone, I was left alone. No one called. No one offered help. No one came over. I did the calling. I did the going over. All they did was say "I'm so sorry. If there's anything you need, just ask." The things I wanted to ask seemed so pathetic and inappropriate, I never did. After that, it was like it never happened. Boy, I lost friends over it. I even lost a brother.

So yes. Don't run away! Support those who need it.

Thanks for the good wishes. I need them today ^__^

David Noceti said...

Yeah, when I read them I was like, "oh man, I've been a real bastard in the past." And that was when I thought I was being helpful. I've always thought that they don't really teach us what we NEED to know in school. Things like what Kara talks about are so important, but they often go unsaid. I'm glad my dropping eaves skills were working that day at writing group. :)

Mer said...

When I read this post, I had to smile (thru some tears)....I should have remembered that you listen more closely than you appear to. (smile) I have been in touch with Kara this week. When I also read that we made yet one more "coincidental" mind leap (Cara/Kara) I smiled even more. I loved the gentle, thoughtful way you wrote about loss, my friend. I'll keep up with your blog while I'm gone. Take care.................

David Noceti said...

Don't worry, Mer, I really only caught the part about Kara. I heard you say it and my head popped up, "Hey, is she looking over my shoulder?" Then I listened a little closer and heard enough to get distracted with thoughts of, "Okay, now that's just weird." So I looked up what you were talking about and had one of those creative accidents. I realized that I was looking at the character of Kara all wrong. I had created her out of base evil and really she was so much more complicated than that. Totally changes how I'm going about things with the ending.

Moral of the story: Eaves dropping is good. :)

And have a great, and restful trip. Get in tune with that ocean that will be churning beneath you. And be wary of any old men that want to fight your husband. See you when you get back.

damihjva said...

Good crit partners who are emotionally invested in your work are so hard to come by. Even if I moved to Peru, you'd still be my guy, you know. :)

David Noceti said...

Awe, shucks. Is this your nice post for the day so that you can get your jabs in later? :)

damihjva said...

Everything in moderation, my dear. How else can I keep you coming back for more?


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