Every writer I know is a “waiter.” We wait for our muses to return from Rome. We wait for feedback from critique partners. We wait for emails from editors and agents. We wait for books to launch and reviews to post. For those of us who are pre-published, we wait (and wait and wait) for our first big break into print. Given that waiting is a given no matter where we are in the waiting room, it’s wise to find ways to use the time, well, wisely. Otherwise we’re time-twiddlers in danger of becoming solitary sadsacks. And yeesh, don’t even get me started on those pricey catered pity parties. What’s that? How do I know about pity parties? Well, uh, [insert awkward silence so long you would take a nap in it here], let’s move on.
And so, my little twice baked potatoes, to help each other whilst we while away our waiting time wisely (versus wastely or woely–and sure, those are words (sorta)), here are ways to help yourself by helping other writers:
You’re so smart, my little brownie bites, I bet you already do a lot of these things, but maaaaybe you hadn’t thought about how helping you could help someone else. Hope these ideas help. Can’t wait to hear your ideas too!
- Join or start a critique group.
- Offer to exchange manuscripts with someone who writes for a similar age group or genre.
- Know someone who’s new to writing in your area? Invite them to the next SCBWI event in your area and introduce them around.
- Send encouraging notes or emails to fellow writing friends. Aim for sending two a week.
- Promote a friend’s books on social media.
- Read books or articles on craft–pass along what you’ve learned.
- Offer to guest blog (even if you have one of your own).
- Enter a writing contest or apply for a writing scholarship or grant–and challenge a friend to do it with you.
- Offer to teach a one-day (or even one-hour) workshop for young writers at your local library.
- Join or start a book club.
- Read books for fun. When you’re done, recommend to a friend.
- Study books for craft–how’d your favorite author “do” that? Post ideas on Facebook.
- Go to book launch events for your friends.
- Write articles, poems or puzzles for children’s magazines–and encourage a friend to do the same.
- If you discover a new children’s magazine, encouraging blog or writing opportunity, share it with your friends.
- Volunteer to read to a class in your local elementary school or senior center.
- Help a literacy program.
- If you have a blog, invite friends to do a guest post or do a guest interview.
“For a while” is a phrase whose length can’t be measured. At least by the person who’s waiting. ~ Haruki Murakami