Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.—Nathaniel Hawthorne
I read advice columns for writers daily, and if the suggestions resonate with what I believe in as an educator, or what I know works, I’ll bring them to this blog. Some suggestions spur an entire blog response on my part. Here’s a column I read today that takes an unusual tack; it speaks to those who read our writing—our audience—and gives our readers advice about how to deal with us (for a change).
The original article, found on the Ezine blog, written by Penny, Ezine‘s managing editor, can be found here. Ezine is an online resource for writers, and I highly recommend it, because the level of advice offered there is specific and pragmatic.
Ezine also publishes your articles, once they’ve been vetted by Ezine staff. You can join for free, and start uploading your writing. Along the way, Ezine will help you get published, and, most importantly, seen.
It’s a relatively simple way to get your opinions and writing viewed in the online format/writing style that’s become industry-standard (they do require you to follow certain rules for writing online, and those rules are, I’ve found, very helpful for organizing your thoughts, at the same time they help you polish your style).
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
To celebrate Be Kind to Writers and Editors month, we’ve gathered 10 great recommendations to help you show your appreciation for the writers in your life.
Writers, feel free to share these suggestions with your friends and family. If you know a writer, please be kind to the writer in your life with these 10 tips!
- While writing isn’t brain surgery, it does require the writer’s full attention. Unless there’s a fire or another catastrophic event, keep distractions to a minimum and respect the time the writer dedicates to their craft.
- Be open to listening to our ideas. Writers are often considered hermits, but it’s not true! Occasionally, we writers will need to bounce an idea off another human. If we get that “Eureka!” look in our eyes, it’s best to just let us to our own devices, ask later, and know we appreciate your inspiration and help.
- Rejection and criticism sting, but we’ll take it in and ask for more when it’s delivered in a positive and constructive manner. Give it to us in the spirit of goodwill and provide specific reasons why you didn’t like or disagreed with the piece.
- You liked it? You really liked it?! Fantastic – we love hearing that readers (including those closest to us) love our work. So what did you like most about it and how did it move or help you? Please, be specific in your praise so we know you’re not pandering to our egos and we can keep up the good work.
- Comment on our articles, share our writing with your friends and family, interact with us on social media, and essentially be a part of our “fan club” to help promote our work. It’s not terribly easy to break into the open online, but it all starts with a support network of those closest to the writer.
- Write a positive review that highlights what you liked about the work and how other readers might benefit from reading it. Of course, if you didn’t like the piece, privately provide the writer with constructive feedback.
- Respect their progress and please be supportive. Most writers aren’t successful overnight and many of us moonlight in other professions (or would that be “daylight” or “sunlight” for those who haven’t quit their day jobs to focus on writing?).
- Writers are sponges – we soak up everything. Send us inspiration like candid questions, complicated queries, anecdotes, articles, book recommendations, article templates, etc. Often what doesn’t make its way directly into our work will indirectly influence our direction and outlook for future pieces.
- Get us out into the world from time to time. Encourage your writer to leave their work routinely and connect with other human beings. It’s important to their success and health!
- Bring them a cup of coffee or favorite snack. Writers are notorious for becoming so engrossed in their work or they simply don’t want to stop their progress once they’re in a good groove that they neglect even their most basic needs like food and water.
Next time you’ve enjoyed something you read, don’t take it for granted. Remember the writer behind it because as Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, “easy reading is damn hard writing.”
Hawthorne’s quotes, by the way, come up frequently in resource searches. One of the books for writers I found while doing a search about his quotes looks quite helpful. Written by Don Fry (who I’ve never heard of until now), it’s called Writing Your Way: Creating a Writing Process That Works For You. I intend to take a look at it and possibly buy it, because I like his premise. He says that we’re taught to write a certain way that might not be right for you, and that we have to allow ourselves to write in a way we’re comfortable with. I think this makes a lot of sense, since trying to fit a round peg into a square hole never works for anyone!
If you want to talk about any of this material I’ve presented here today, be sure to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
Be kind to your writer by responding!
- Write On, Wednesday: Guest Post from Tanya Chernov (leslielindsay.com)
- we need to read (ravenspeak.wordpress.com)
- Do writers read differently? (mikecoville.wordpress.com)
- Overcoming intimidation; finding inspiration (leannesype.wordpress.com)
- My Favorite Writer Resource Sites, What are Yours? (1writeplace.com)