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How to Show Your Gratitude to Other Writers
by Maria Chatzi

Return to The Writing Life · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version

It has taken you years, but you've finally become the writer you wanted to be. Where you are standing today is the result of your passionate persistence, your hard work, your devotion, your ever-lasting belief in a dream. But is it really all a result of your personal efforts only? Before setting out, you had made sure you had a GPS with you or some handy maps (and you probably bought some more of them during the journey). Also, all along the roads, and on crossroads too, there were sign posts and traffic lights to inform and guide you. Your maps, GPS, sign posts and traffic lights were the people who helped you succeed, including the community of your fellow writers. This article is about showing gratitude to other writers, and the writing community in general, who helped you achieve what you've achieved.

Benefits of Showing Your Gratitude

Showing your gratitude benefits all -- you (as a person and a professional writer), and the writing community as well -- in the following ways:

  • It builds you a good profile for your writing business. A healthy, thriving business is a business that cares not only for its customers but for the people of the "trade" in general, as well as the broader community, both offline (the neighborhood or town you live and/or work in) and online (local and global).

  • It sets the foundation of a supportive, creative culture, where no one feels left out and alone. Throughout history, writers have always been influential people. It is our duty and part of the writer's mission to help develop strong ties within the writing community, based on appreciation, harmony, unanimity, solidarity and cooperation.

  • It broadens the writing community's circle. By helping new writers with their writing craft problems you are, at the same time, being inviting to more newcomers. The more writer voices join the community, the stronger that community is and the greater its social impact.

  • It brings personal satisfaction, joy and fulfillment to know you are doing what you were meant to do: contribute, with your talent, toward a better global future.

How to Show Your Gratitude

There are two ways to show gratitude to other writers and the writing community: "Paying it back" and "Paying it Forward."

We "pay back" a good deed someone has done to us: skills we have learned, knowledge or experiences we have acquired, empowerment and encouragement we have been offered, interesting social contacts we have had, etc, due to the help of a particular writer or a team/group of writers. In the case of an individual, it could be a writer of the past (not alive any more) or a living writer. It could also be a writer who is active in the craft or a retired one.

We "pay forward" a good deed to an individual writer or a team or group of writers, by offering to support and help them out. We can do good to writers whom we may or may not be acquainted with, who have not supported or helped us in the past, and who may or may not support or help us later on in the future. Obviously, you can "pay forward" only to living writers!

How to Get Started and What to Do Next

The first thing to do is make a list of those to whom you would like to "give back" to or "pay it forward." Then, write down a plan on how to do it. There are various ways of showing your gratitude to your fellow writers (and writers of the past), and you'll have to make decisions on what suits you best.

If it is a writer of the past, the best way to show gratitude is to keep his/her memory alive by teaching the value of his/her works to new writers. However it is not only new writers who would benefit from your showing gratitude to a past writer. In a way, you are "paying it back" to a writer of the past by "paying it forward" to new writers. Get creative and show experienced fellow writers the connections that could be made between the appreciated writer's works and modern issues. Perhaps there is room for innovative writing ideas in such an approach. Follow the same route if there is more than one past writer to whom you believe you owe part of your successful writing career, or a community of historical writers (e.g. Greek philosophers) that you have been influenced by.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the help of a living writer, or a community of living writers, one of the best ways is through a donation. You might choose to donate part of your income, give away some of your products (e.g., offer some ebooks that you sell on your website), or offer part of your time (by providing a free service). Of course, it could be all or a combination of the above! Your final choices also depend on your personality and character, as well as your knowledge, skills and expertise in other fields outside the writing craft.

Some ways to show your gratitude by donating your time and expertise include the following:

  • Contribute guest posts, articles, stories to blogs and websites for writers.

  • If you are good with SEO work, look through these websites and/or blogs and do some "content remake," to help them rank higher with the search engines.

  • If you are a website designer, as well as being a writer, volunteer to modernize the site's design.

  • If you happen to be a marketer or a journalist, offer to do some promotion work for them. Of course, even if you don't know much about marketing, you could send visitors to other writers' blogs, or websites, by word of mouth -- let people know about the excellent services offered by a specific writer, or the writing community, that helped you succeed.

  • Organize and lead a series of free reading and writing workshops for aspiring writers. These could be online (like webinars) or offline (for example, at a public library).

  • Participate in forums to answer questions new writers have -- be encouraging and empowering.

  • Participate in speaker events organized by the writing community.

  • Host a networking event on your blog, or (why not?) your home, for writers, publishers and agents.

  • Volunteer for collaborative projects (e.g., like building pools of resources) that benefit both new and experienced writers.

  • Do some great work for the Public Domain -- publish your book on the writing craft with a Creative Commons License.

You could certainly find a bunch of other ideas too. However, perhaps you are short of money to donate, or have not made your own products yet, or have no other knowledge, skills, or expertise. Or, perhaps you may be a new writer benefiting from the wealth of knowledge and help offered by experienced fellow writers, online or offline, but you cannot think of a service you could offer them to express your gratitude. Send a simple email of appreciation to them, praising the writers for their great work and thanking them for their generosity and kindness.

What To Keep In Mind

Giving is an act of a big heart. However, do not perceive it as a one-way communication act. There is a receiver: the writer or the writing community you are showing your gratitude to. It takes an equally big heart, at the other end, to receive graciously. Not all people are good receivers and it is not always their fault for not being ready to respond graciously to your offer -- there may be other factors at play, like bad timing.

If you stumble upon an unwilling (or poorly timed) recipient, do not let your disappointment discourage you. Move on to the next person (or group) on your list. If you really care about showing your appreciation to the previous person or group with whom you didn't get a chance to connect, prepare yourself to come back to that person (or group) with another offer to donate your time and expertise in the future. Remember, however, never to attempt to "force" your gift upon anyone -- just as you have a choice as to what to offer, others have a choice about whether they wish to receive. The desire to give should never be considered an obligation upon the recipient, or worse, to make them feel indebted to you!

Always make sure you are contributing the right service to the right place (whether it is to an individual writer or a community of writers). An offer to donate an article or two may be welcome and much appreciated by a website for writers, but it is not the best choice for a writing forum. Similarly, offering to write a book with beginner tips for a community of established only writers is also useless. So make sure you offer what is actually needed and could be put to good use.

Finally, whatever it is you do to "pay it back" or "pay it forward", put your heart in it. Make it a meaningful offer, one that matters -- do work of quality for those you are indebted to.

The world expects writers to achieve greatness and leave a legacy. The first step towards achieving this is to show your gratitude to other writers whose writings have had an impact on your work and who helped you get where you are standing today.

Editor's Note: This article is Maria's gift to the Writing-World.com community in appreciation of the knowledge she has gained from this newsletter and website.

Find Out More...

Giving Something Back - Dawn Copeman

Giving Thanks - Or, Why Writers Are Still Needed - Moira allen

Wish You Merry... Happy Holidays in Not-So-Happy Times - Moira Allen

The Writer's Gift - Moira Allen
Copyright © 2013 Maria Chatzi
This article is not available for reprint without the author's written permission.

Maria Chatzi is a teacher, writer, self-taught artist, and craft designer. Her goal is to help children and adults acknowledge their creative identity and discover their potential, so they can play an active part in the new creative culture. Her teaching and writings aim at equipping people with the techniques they need to acquire self-knowledge, be creative thinkers, build their self-esteem and succeed. She does a great deal of volunteering, especially for public libraries, leading Arts and Crafts Workshops (for adults and children) and Creative Writing Workshops (mainly for children). Find out more about her work (including articles and craft projects) at http://www.creativity-portal.com/howto/a/maria-chatzi/.


Copyright © 2018 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors and may not be reprinted
without the author's written permission, unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor

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