My hope is that this headline is true. While the writing profession (or obsession as some describe it) is a solitary one, it is in giving to others where its impact can be felt.
The gift of time is precious as we are given a finite amount in this life. To mentor another writer. To blog freely. To teach at a conference or in a school setting. All are examples of a beautiful way to both give and receive.
At many conferences, I watch writers joyfully train their replacements! Think about it. Teaching others the inside scoop on how to write well, and more, helps improve those who later become competition. And yet the acrimony of competition is missing entirely. It is a wonderful thing.
To use your talent to its fullest is a gift to others. To hone that talent so it crescendos into the heart of a reader should be the goal of every writer. This talent must be shared. To hoard it for oneself would be a travesty and tantamount to the deadly sin of greed.
As our agency believes, we are in the business of helping to change the world word by word.
I am talking about the things we treasure, like our money. I particularly like the epigram from Ellie Kay who wrote, “The sweetest dollar you ever make is the one you give away.” That is so true! Cynthia Ruchti wrote (in the CBA Marketplace) about a number of novelists who have tied the revenue of their work to various charities. One example from the article is novelist Loree Lough who consistently donates a portion of her proceeds to causes like autism research, Soldiers’ Angels, Wounded Warrior Project, the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, and others. There are a number of writers, editors, agents, and publishers who do the same or tie content in their books to specific charities or causes. Many do so in anonymity.
Time, talent, and treasure … three things that we can give in this season of giving.
How have you benefited from the gift of another writer?
How do you plan to give back to others?
[An earlier version of this post ran in December 2011.]