Sharing success with others by extending encouragement and concrete opportunities to newcomers and seasoned writers alike is one of the most personally and professionally rewarding things a freelancer will ever do. By helping others to succeed, a writer’s own sense of purpose and place within the larger writing community is strengthened. It’s a terrific win-win.
The solitary writer/loner stereotype exists because so many of us are just that. But being solitary doesn’t necessarily mean being isolated. There are many ways to reach out to one another without intruding unduly on your own writing time. After realizing I’d accumulated stacks of writing magazines and annual Writer’s Markets, I began giving these resources away to aspiring teenage writers. I also compiled and distributed a list of publications that were actively seeking stories and articles by young writers. The students were thrilled with this introduction to the writing world, and I was thrilled for them. When I was 12, my dad pulled out an old Writer’s Market and showed me how it was organized. To this day, I credit Dad and that book for putting me on the path to publication by teaching me how to market my writing.
Sharing knowledge of timely markets, like WritersWeekly.com, is another great way to pass the possibility of success on to fellow writers. My friend Ann never hesitates to share contact information with others, even if it means forfeiting a few assignments herself. As a former editor and publisher, Ann knows the value of forging strong bonds between writers. Competition exists in every profession, but so does mentoring! And, being held in high esteem by other wordsmiths is an awesome high in itself.
When I began freelancing, two seasoned authors helped me tremendously. Betsy critiqued my work with an eagle eye, and Brigid invited me to coauthor a non-fiction book with her. She’d published many books herself already, yet she kindly chose to take a chance on me. The experience taught me plenty. But, what I remember most is that someone took the time to help me build my career.
Years ago, I asked an editor to offer a story she’d assigned to me to a newer writer instead. She gave the man a chance, and he wound up earning several additional assignments. Thirty years later, shortly before the man died of cancer, I received a letter thanking me for the opportunities I’d passed along to him. That’s when it really hit me. The act of sharing success is its own reward. Passing the torch rounds us out as human beings and keeps us connected as writers. So, keep those kind deeds circulating because the world needs every skilled and charitable writer it can get.
Wendy Hobday Haugh, a freelance writer from upstate New York, writes stories and articles for a wide range of magazines, including Highlights for Children and Woman’s World. Three of her cat stories appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s My Very Good, Very Bad Cat, published in February 2016. Currently, she is hard at work on a middle-grade novel.
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"A real page turner. I can't wait to read the next installment."
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Nic Pappas, a reporter with the Palatine Star newspaper, is assigned to cover a cold murder case known as The Brown's Chicken Massacre. Pappas meets, and falls in love with, Mary Jane Santos, who lost her brother, Roland, Jr., in the tragedy, tempting Pappas to violate the ethics of the reporter-source relationship. Believing the only way to end his dilemma is to solve the case, Pappas and Santos make a pledge to catch the killers...