Everybody Needs a Hand Up

Thursday, May 30, 2019
These days, writing is harder than it used to be. The industry's flooded with books. The publishers are pickier. So are the agents. Everybody (including me) thinks they are a writer. It's like we're grains of sand on the beach... and we want to stand out like a black shark's tooth among that tannish-gray sea of sand.

These days, we need a hand from our fellow writers. I have gotten invaluable assistance from colleagues... and I continue to depend on the kindness of strangers, along with the support and guidance of blogosphere acquaintances and writing colleagues.

photo by Sioux--part of a sculpture in Chesterfield, Missouri... The rest of the
piece includes part of a leg, a foot, an arm and a face

What kind of help do I benefit from? Here's some of it:

Writing Accountability Groups: Several years ago, a writer (J. Glenn) recommended starting a writing accountability group. immediately, I knew that having a group to hound me when I got lax would be beneficial.

This is the second year I've been part of an accountability group (the Butt-Kickers). Currently, I've been MIA for a couple of weeks. Am I writing more--this minute--to make up for my procrastination? Well, no. (But I do feel guilty.)

Beta Readers: In the last year I've been lucky enough to have two beta readers wade through my manuscript. (Linda O'Connell was one of my beta readers.) When they were through, I got the manuscript copies back with thoughtful (and thought-provoking) notes scrawled in the margins. Those are true friends--friends who commit to reading a not-perfect draft and are willing to be honest. Their encouragement and belief in my manuscript buoyed my spirits.

Editors: Last year I mustered enough courage to decide on hiring an editor to assess my manuscript. I was fortunate enough to choose Margo Dill. Not only did I pay for her expert services once, I did it twice. (My manuscript needed major revisions. In all honesty, it needed to be completely rewritten so after I used the wrecking ball on it and got the crane out and rebuilt it, I hired her to take a second look at it.) What I got from Margo was so much more than I expected. Because of her numerous suggestions, it's now a manuscript I'm proud of.

Writing Groups: I belong to two different writing groups. We bring copies of the piece we want critiqued, get feedback on our story/essay and get to offer suggestions on the pieces the other writers bring. Don't get me wrong--my stories are vastly improved after a critique session, but I think the biggest benefit is that it gets me writing on a regular basis. We meet every couple of weeks, which means I have to have something to share every couple of weeks.

Right now, when it comes to submitting, my spirits are lower than I'd like. What keeps even a trickle of activity going is the help I get... from my writing accountability group... from my writing friends--both local and afar, known and not-really-known.

How have you helped a fellow writer lately?

                                      There's not many songs that begin with Ringo singing all by himself...

Sioux Roslawski is a middle-school teacher by day and a procrastinating freelance writer by night. When she's not avoiding writing or drooling on the couch (asleep), she rescues dogs for Love a Golden Rescue. Sioux's currently begging and pleading with agents to give her manuscript a once-over. If you're curious, check out her blog.


Margo Dill said...

You are always so kind. I agree--without other writers in our lives to support us, we would be a mess! :)

Renee Roberson said...


I am so grateful for you. It is SO hard being a writer in this day and age. But we all deserve to have our voices heard. And because of that, I've tried to be more mindful this year of helping other writers wherever I can. Especially when I know they are out there kicking butt even against the hardest of circumstances and continuing to write anyway.

Sioux said...

Margo--I'm a mess even WITH all the help I get. ;)

Renee--I'm grateful for all the Butt-Kickers, along with all the friends and acquaintances who give me support. It surely ain't easy being a writer these days...

Mary Horner said...

First of all, Sioux, I am so jealous that you found a way to use a picture of that great sculpture in your blog post. Second, I think of you as part of my support system because you are always so in tune with what I (and other writers) deal with. So, thank you for being there for us!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--At least one of the other parts of the sculpture will appear at some point, I'm sure.

And thank YOU. You always post something that gets me thinking...

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