In the writing life, there are certain intangibles that's hard to explain to other writers until they've experienced them for themselves. One of those intangibles of the writing life is what I call creative karma. Simply put, creative karma means what you give out, you'll get back. Giving support and encouragement to other writers will eventually return to you in kind.
Publishing is a tough business for writers, so we need to stick together. Backbiting and unhealthy, cut-throat competition doesn't help the writing community. It only hinders it. Eschewing negativity and using our energies together for the greater good is a win-win situation for everybody.
How can you increase your positive creative karma? Here are five ways to get started!
1. Celebrate others' successes.
Success and accomplishment is good for everyone. It tends to rub off on others too. Remember that being a writer isn't about competing with others; it's more about competing with yourself. Spread good cheer and encouragement by hailing others' successes – like selling a first book or getting an agent – and remember that if you haven't hit your stride yet or haven't inked your first contract, it's good to be gracious to others. When your time comes, you'll find those same writing colleagues will be there to help congratulate and celebrate your successes in like kind.
2. Teach what you know.
You won't ever know everything about the writing business, but chances are you know something already. Even if you've only got a short amount of time under your belt, your trials and tribulations in the publishing industry can help others avoid the same pitfalls. Learned some dos and don'ts about query writing? Discovered a terrific critique group or message board? Found a way to be more productive during your writing day? This information – and more – can be valuable to writers who are just starting out in the craft. Write blog articles or share emails with your writing buddies about these things. It's an easy way to give to others a gift of the knowledge you've gained thus far so they won't make the same mistakes.
3. Share job opportunities.
One of the hardest things to learn as a writer of any kind is where to find writing opportunities or freelance gigs. Do a good deed every day by sharing newly discovered job leads and publishing guidelines with other writers – especially new ones. It may be tempting to keep the information to yourself, but remember that the more you give out, the more you'll get.
4. Swap resources.
This is along the same lines as sharing job opportunities (above). Got a great lead on a new writers' resource that's chock-full of articles, how-tos and tips? Forward the information to your writing buddies. Got a line on a new imprint for a publisher? Let them in on the tip and guidelines. Know of a new market database? Tell all your writer friends about it. Keep valuable information circulating and your writing network will stay vibrant, healthy and up-to-date.
5. Be a matchmaker.
Introduce the people you know to each other – writers, agents, editors, publishers, readers – so you can help them get in contact with others who may help them find the information they need to move forward on their respective paths to publication and writing success. Networking is a must when it comes to the publishing industry, so take note of your colleagues' special qualities and play a combination of matchmaker/muse for them.
Keeping good creative karma flowing is one way to do unto others in your writing circle and in your profession. In the publishing business, no one should make a go of it alone – there are too many precarious potholes and dangerous detours to navigate. Offering a helping hand to others builds bridges that won't be forgotten. In the end, make contact with others and share information that will reap positive rewards not just for yourself, but for many others as well.
Bev Walton-Porter is a multi-published author, freelance writer and writing instructor. Her work has appeared in numerous publications since she turned full-time writer in 1997. Her latest book is Sun Signs for Writers. She lives in Colorado with her fiancé, two teenagers and four lovely felines. http://www.bevwaltonporter.com