I No Longer Use Writers Helping Writers
I joined Facebook to promote my first book. Once on Facebook, I found a great resource for helping me to write in the group Writers Helping Writers. It is a forum where writers post content, ask questions, provide resources and converse about writing, story and publishing. When I joined this group, I read every post and contributed every day to the ongoing topics.
If I were to summarize my experience, it confirmed that I am indeed an author. As opposed to somebody who had not taken the leap, was not serious or had no talent. How did I figure this out? A large number of people had yet to publish anything. Many of the posts were clearly from amateurs and they did not understand the true craft of writing. Established authors proudly posted their poorly written material. This boosted my confidence. Confidence at the expense of others? Hmm. I still claim the win.
The content I posted asked important questions about writing and I believe the members appreciated my efforts. Through this interaction, it became apparent that others shared my struggles. Like me, upcoming authors had difficulties, and they worked hard to overcome their shortcomings. Using the information I gained, I determined my own plan or marketing and story development.
When somebody posted material that had been poorly written, I chose not to make negative comments. I did this even though they clearly wanted an honest opinion. It’s not my personality to put down others or go out of my way to point out flaws. However, Writers Helping Writers is an open forum. A person joining this group must realize that this type of venue is not always going to be a pleasant experience.
As the months passed, I became disillusioned by the group. My biggest annoyance came from all the repeat posts. For example, when a person first joined, they posted, “Wow, so great to be here.” Or “How do I write a book?” In the beginning, I enjoyed sharing my wisdom and reading about their experiences. I am a big fan of starting with an outline and I explained my technique several times. However, the same posts kept repeating with the same answers.
Writers Helping Writers also contained negative and angry comments. This trend demotivated people like myself who were trying to positively contribute to the community. Plus, writing is supposed to be fun. I fully appreciate that it’s a privilege to be an author. Try writing a book in North Korea.
Many of the posts were fluff. “Writers meeting in St Petersburg. Come join us.” Ten-hour flight? No thank you. “Look at my cooking book cover!” I don’t care. “How should this poem end?” Gahhhh. Too much noise. “I just sold 50 thousand books!” Yay. I sold two this month. A new record.
What suggestions do I have for the group? Writers Helping Writers is what it is. An open forum for writers to communicate. The people who join that group are just people. They’re trying to improve their writing and people are never perfect. The result is a small amount of wonderful content sprinkled among the junk. I am glad to have learned so much from the group and I think it is a great resource. My only suggestion would be to develop a FAQ section and let the moderator direct the appropriate posts to that area. I would recommend all authors check the group out. The group has a lot of good information and many of the people genuinely want to contribute.
My experience with Writers Helping Writers went from positive to negative over six months. Writing takes time and I must budget my free time. About once a month, I skim over the posts. I no longer comment or post material/questions. Is that bad? I don’t think my decision is good or bad. We have interests in our lives that go from the high point of our day to something we deplore. For example, I no longer play with Legos.
Does this mean that I evolved beyond Writers Helping Writers? In a way, yes. I gained the confidence and information I lacked. Writers Helping Writers truly fulfilled the intended goal of the group. Writers did indeed help out a writer.
You’re the best -Bill
February 27, 2019
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