Writers Helping Writers

Last Saturday, my good friend Victorine Lieske and I had the opportunity to speak to the Omaha chapter of the National League of Pen Women. They bought us lunch, we met some very nice women and saw a couple of friends from other writing connections we have. And, as always with writers, we had good conversation and plenty of laughs. You can read all about the history of the National League of American Pen Women at their website: NLAPW.org.

I love speaking at events with Victorine because she’s a writing, marketing, ebook guru known all over the country. She sells books in her sleep! So, it’s pretty cool she lets me come along and share the floor.

I know not to talk about writing or marketing because I’m just a beginner learning the ropes. But I can talk about the importance of critique to work a book and make yourself accountable to your readers. I can also talk about networking.

Here’s what Connie Spittler, the group’s current president, had to say about my portion of the program. “Gina Barlean’s main and best points. As friends, we can give each other free publicity.” It’s a simple premise. Just common sense—one thing this country girl has, at least on occasion. I like to break things down into language we can all embrace. I try to do that in my book, Build a Writing Team. In that book, I talk about networking. It’s a word that can simply translate into, be a friend to each other.

  • I’ll promote you and you promote me.
  • I’ll support you, you support me.
  • I’ll help you and you help me.

Sorry to take the mystery out of it. If you want people to help you out, help them out. If you want people to be nice to you, be nice to them. Let’s combine our talents and see where it takes us.

What I pointed out to the NLPW was that women already have this skill perfected. Those who are successful do this for each other from the time they’re very young. They rally behind each other and build each other up. So I thought it was pretty neat to find out the organization’s original goal was,“mutual aid, advice, and future development” for each other and their careers. 

Interestingly enough, the Nebraska Writers Guild also had women writers of the era—Aldrich, Cather, Sandoz. And their history is quoted to say among their goals was, “…to foster the development of the talent of those who desire to write and who show definite possibilities of authorship.” Similar era, similar women, similar thoughts. Pretty cool, I think. Essentially, they encourage women authors to help each other out, and to support and give advice to other writers.

I guess our foremothers had this networking thing figured out long before we ever did. It’s true. There really is nothing new under the sun. Funny, though, how our world wants to put new names and spins on what the past already knew so well.

17 thoughts on “Writers Helping Writers

  1. Knowing there is someone out there who will be there to help can make for a more secure process. I’m mentoring two writers this year and critiquing for four. It’s hard to make it work around schedules and my own projects sometimes, but it’s completely worth it when I get a loving thank-you or a “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” That’s the pay-off and makes me want to dig into my writing to be able to tell those who assist me the same. It’s loving-it-forward ;-). Enjoyed the post.

  2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Networking and helping others appears to be a tried and true principle.

    Sounds like the speech went well, and you got to be part of another wonderful author experience. Excellent!

  3. lucy adkins says:

    What would we writers do without our writing friends? We would be lonely, discouraged, and we wouldn’t get as much good writing done as we would otherwise. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Gina. We writers spend lots of time on our own facing the blank page, we need the friendly company of others who “get” what we are doing, and will provide the support and encouragement we need to keep going. Sometimes it’s a lonely road we’re on, and it doesn’t have to be that way. We can do it in good company.

  4. Your words are another great reminder of how important collaboration and networking are. Writers need each other. We need each other for support, for friendship, for sharing, and for camaraderie. We need to be there for each other when we receive a rejection letter and celebrate when someone sees value in our writing. And we need to mentor young talent. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but with others cheering us on, writing in community can be the best way to keep writing and writing and writing.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      I think we may very well get the most mileage from mentoring young writers. New writers. I love to write, I love when people enjoy my stories, but I really love seeing someone I’ve helped, succeed. We love seeing family experience joy. I try to look at the writers I meet as a family.

  5. Gina, You set me thinking about the historic line of women who’ve believed in friend helping friend relationships. I think of women quilting together in pioneer times, in prayer circles, all those who give hours to support community charities, women working together for positive outcomes.
    You said women do this naturally and for sure, it works in creative fields.

  6. You are one of the best examples of helping others too! You’ve given me so much help, and I’ve learned so much from you. Thank you again for just being your awesome self.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Thank you, Char. I can’t even imagine not being helpful! I think I’ve had some really good examples of this in my life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.