(Supporting a writer's career)
Writers Helping Each Other
Writers, poets, artists, musicians (all who pursue a career in the arts)desperately need the suport of their peers. Not only in perfecting their art. but also in the struggle against the inevitable misunderstanding (and often resentment) of the traditional working world.
Nine-to-fivers, and those who don't recognize labor in nonphysical occupations, label us lightweights. The consesus: that writers work only when they want to, play in the middle of the day, take a vacation whenever ...
And when we make money,we're lucky--as if we hadn't earned it.
In general, people who create are stereotyped self-isolated dreamers, defying convention and neglecting friends and family; although most of us don't fit that label. However, we may at times be partly guilty. And then, there are "sluffers" (those who bought us that reputation, by dallying, and playing at writing).
They gave the dream killers justification for their accusations.
Of course, society is not entirely judgmental. But those who nag: "get a real job." and the would-be controllers of your destiny, who block every attempt at creativity, demand all your time, or belittle your talent, are more than enough to deal with. For additionally, we all have friends who try to joke us out of what they call our hobby.
Every serious writer working full time toward a literary career, can expect to combat some or all of these situations. Plus, suffering the inevitable--waiting for praise from loved ones. That's often like waiting for a floating feather to reach the bottom of the canyon.
Again, there are supportive families and friends. But writers are usually challenged for deviating from the nine to five norm, and domed to do battle just for the opportunity to pursue their dream.
A.R.T.S. Anonymous to the rescue.
Since 1984 this organization, a noncompetitive mutual suport group for "coping with the arts," has been helping writers win their personal battles. Modeled after Alchohol Anonymous, it's 72 chapters across the nation and throughout the world, provide encouragement and full time assistance to anyone learning to live the lifestyle conducive to their particular creativity. A.R.T.S. will help with a mental block, a financial situation, procrastination, loneliness ...
Whatever your problem, you'll not be judged. Even if it has to do with your own nonproductive attitude, or habits.
The procedure is to pair the one who seeks help witrh a peer of more experience, "who listens with interest and dispenses friendly advice."
Sounds too good to be true ?
Check them out. For complete detailed information about their twelve point program, and locations of meetings, go to www.artsanonymous.org. A.R.T.S. also offers moral building publications and literary recovery material in a number of inexpensive pamphlets.
Another helpful organization is The National Writers Union, which intercedes in many ways on their members' behalf, most often assisting with contracts and grievances (but they don't give legal advice).
If you are adamntly not a joiner, and don't haver a teacher or mentor, there are alternate sources of assistence available. Help is out there. For the price of a phone call or letter (with SASE) beginners have been known to receive a wealth of insight, and coiveted suypport from professionals in their field--when courteously asked.
In the writing world, I'm happy to say, the dirty game of stepping on heads to climb higher is not often played. For "win anyway you can" is not necessary. No writer writes exactly like another; no two maintain an equal level of expertise--nor is an achievement point attained in any way lessened by aiding another's climb.
So, on your path to success (with help from many sources) offer your help to another struggler. As you progress in confidence and accomplishment, hopefully at every oportunity, you'll feel inclined to assist others in reaching their goals.
For when we nourish a fellow writer's dream--each of us empowering another to be more creative--humanity benefits collectively. We are all lifted. And the circle widens...
A world of writers helping each other
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Excerpted from the author's book for writers, THE WRITING WORLD, Living The Literary Life, based on her seminars, classes, and columns as contributing editor for Wriiters World Magazine.