Writing is a solitary endeavor: Much of your time is spent alone, tapping away on a keyboard or busily drafting ideas in a notebook. You might think there’s no real reason to interact with other writers, since you’re each busy focusing on your own projects. But look up from your writing for a moment — it turns out that interacting with and helping other writers is actually very beneficial!
How Helping Other Writers Also Helps You
You’ll develop a supportive community. Whether it’s through reading someone’s work and providing feedback, answering questions another writer has about writing or the publishing industry, or just offering someone moral support after another rejection letter, reaching out to other writers creates bonds and builds community. By offering others the benefit of your experience, you can help point them in the right direction while forging new connections for yourself and your writing.
You can work one-on-one as a writing mentor in a collaborative partnership, but joining a writing group offers extra perks: You will meet other writers who will in turn keep you accountable when you have set writing goals (and you can do the same for them!). Just be careful to avoid any potentially toxic personalities.
If you help other writers with their promotional efforts, they’ll be more likely to assist you with cross-promotion when it’s your turn. And when you have a book about to be published, or an upcoming reading, or just had your work published in a literary journal, the writing community where you’ve been lending a hand can spread the word!
You’ll improve your own writing. When critiquing another writer’s work, you may learn new techniques that will enhance your own writing. Participating in mutual assistance setups (like writing groups or workshops) will expose you to useful knowledge and ideas that you wouldn’t have come across otherwise! Helping other writers improve their skills may bring you into contact with writers in other genres, and these new tropes and styles may provide unique insights and inspiration for your own projects.
You’ll discover new perspectives. Helping other writers will open up your world in countless ways, through the stories, emotions, cultures, and personalities you’ll experience when interacting with others. You’ll find new ideas by sharing the life experiences and writing of other authors. When you reach out to help others — especially other writers — you’re reaching beyond your own little writer bubble and gaining valuable connections.
Bonus Benefit: Reaching out and connecting with others can improve your health and well-being! The good feelings you experience when helping other writers can also lower anxiety and depression, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and even boost your immune system.
These are just a few of the many ways helping other writers helps you as well. But be careful; if you spend too much time helping other writers, you won’t have enough time to do your own writing and submissions!