Adulation Is Poison

I don’t have cable or even antenna TV for that matter. All of what I watch is comprised of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. So the only time I hear about celebrities is when someone mentions them on Facebook and most of my Facebook friends care about celebrities about as much as I do.

Which is almost zero.

So the only reason I know a name like Justin Bieber is because someone is making fun of him or some kid I know happens to like him and insists if I just hear this song, surely, surely, I’ll like him too. (Nope.)

And speaking of the Bieber, he showed up in my Facebook feed lately because to no one’s surprise it turns out he’s a ginormous doof and they caught it on tape. Giving a deposition because of something a security guard did or something (I didn’t care enough to find out why), you get to see this class act showing us all how classy he can be.

I rolled my eyes like most people, but at the same time I found myself pondering on the negative effects of fame. Bieber isn’t the first kid celebrity to turn into a total doof or weirdo and he probably won’t be the last either.

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Monday’s Writerly Quote

Have you ever considered why you’re blogging? Especially you writers out there. Why are you blogging? To build your platform, perhaps? But why?

Something I believe in strongly is the philosophy of karma. Those things you send out are returned to you. If you fill your world with negative energy, the negative energy returns. But if you fill your world with positive energy, it’s positive energy that will ultimately surround you.

I think for many of us, perhaps blogging begins as a way to build a platform, but then we realize (or at least I came to realize) it’s being a part of a community. And helping those you can along the way.

Which brings us to today’s quote, via your favorite green philosopher, Yoda:

Always pass on what you have learned.

Something I try to do with my blog is share all the experiences I’ve had on my writing journey. I want to impart all the knowledge I’ve gained, hoping it helps someone in a way I would have liked to be helped earlier in my journey. And the great thing is that because I’ve connected with a lot of you, I learn things I didn’t know or gain new perspectives I might not have otherwise thanks to you doing the same.

There’s room enough for us all in this industry, especially these days with our technology. We should always cheer when one of us reaches success and encourage each other as we strive for our own successes. Part of the way we do that is passing on what we’ve learned.

I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to look at your blog not just as a platform for yourself, but as a platform to help others. Help your fellow writers. Make it about what you can do for everyone else, and focus less on what everyone else can do for you.

We can typically tell when a writer’s blog is meant solely for us to admire them. The blogs I tend to check regularly are the ones where the author interacts with their followers. Many of you have become pals and are a big part of the reason I keep going with this blog.

Those are the kinds of bloggers we should be—ones that encourage each other to be our best selves in every way.

Be those bloggers, my friends. And I’ll do my best to be that kind of blogger to you.

How are you passing on those things that you have learned? Why do you blog? Do you benefit from being a part of this writing community? What do you like about this writing community?

I Won a First Chapter Critique!

So I stumbled onto the blog of Aimee L. Salter a while back via Twitter and in addition to finding very helpful writing advice, I also discovered she holds a contest called the First 500 Critiques.  If you’re brave enough, you submit the first 500 words of your novel for Aimee and anyone who reads her blog to critique.

I took a chance and tried to be as helpful as I could to my fellow brave submitters and by chance won the comment lottery for a first chapter critique.  This is something Aimee does for free out of the goodness of her heart.  (I have a feeling karma will be bringing her fantastic returns).

I found her advice on my first 500 to be very helpful, if not reinforcing what I was hearing about it.  I think it aided me in gathering the courage to make some major changes–changes I believe are for the better.

The whole situation reminded me of something I think some of us writers tend to forget, and that’s community.  Networking is so much more important than we give it credit for.  We have to think beyond the direct path to publishing and somehow realize there’s this whole community of writers now easily accessible thanks to technology with a wealth of advice and information.  I’ve learned so many things from fellow writers I may not have discovered on my own.  I’ve learned how to utilize social media tools, editing techniques, query letter advice, story mechanics advice–the list goes on and on.

I think a lot of us have that personality that wants to keep these things private, but when you shut yourself off to the community you’re closing yourself off to one of the best support groups you could possibly have.

And something else I’ve learned is there’s room for everyone in this business.  Just think about it.  Sure, there are the Harry Potter books and the Hunger Games and the Twlights but once a reader has devoured them, that’s it.  They want more and we’re potentially there to give it to them.  I truly believe we all have good stories in us, it’s just the translation part–the getting it from our head to paper in desirable form–that holds us back.  But there’s room for all of our stories, once we get them right on paper.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my elation and both encourage you to check out Aimee’s blog and find your own way to contribute to the community.  Remember, the energy you send out does return to you.  Make sure it’s positive helpful energy.

If you want to do the first 500, you’ll likely have to wait until next year as it has passed for this season.  But polish your work in the meantime and search her articles for advice on how to do that.  I believe she also offers her services for critiquing your work.

And what about you?  Have you found contributing to the community to be helpful in your writing journey?  What new discoveries have you made interacting with other writers?  Let us know in the comments below.