Since I’ve written quite a bit about how others have helped me– often quite selflessly– it’s quite fitting to put some thought into ways I can give back. People reached back over the wall to help pull me over, so when I get the chance, I’m going to reach over and grab someone.
There are three key things, for me, that that entails:
1. Working Writers’ Workshops: I’ve been working the ArmadilloCon Writers’ Workshop for several years, and I’ll be running it in 2015. When I was starting out, attending this particular workshop was a critical step in getting out of the “every word is gold” phase of writing and taking a hard look at the work I needed to do. So providing that service to new writers is important.
2. Being Responsive: No one is pounding down my doors just yet, but when I do get people asking me for insight or advice, I take it seriously. That includes at conventions– often after a panel I’ll get a sense that someone in the audience wants an extra word or a comment, and I make a point to be approachable. I mean, to a large degree, that’s literally why I’m there: I learned stuff because people were there for me, I need to be willing to do the same.
3. Remembering We’ve All Been There: Every person working on being a professional writer is on a different place on their journey, and I think it’s crucial to maintain a certain degree of humility about one’s own path. I mean, I doubt anyone who read the opening chapter to a now-trunked novel that I brought to my first ArmadilloCon Workshop thought to themselves, “This is the guy who’s going to get a book deal in a few years.” We are all works in progress, and you never know where the next great one is going to come from.