This post, by Jean Oram, originally appeared on the From the Write Angle blog on 4/20/12.
Ever get the feeling that another writer isn’t exactly loving you? Maybe it’s just a slight niggling feeling that somehow, somewhere along the line you’ve annoyed them. Or maybe you haven’t had that feeling, but you’ve been noticing that you’re just not getting the responses and feedback from others that you’ve been hoping for.
Maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s you.
But what did you do? And how do you fix it?
I’ve asked ten writers what their writer pet peeves are about other writers, plus added four of my own. Read on and see if any of them feel familiar or strike a chord.
FIFTEEN Things About Writers That Annoy Other Writers and What You Can Do About It:
1. It’s All About YOU
Writers (and people in general) who make it all about themselves and their work are annoying. They leave the impression that they don’t care about others.
Is it you?: If you notice that you’re not replying to others because you aren’t that interested in their problems and story, that you’re not offering assistance when you could, you never have the time for others, don’t bother to answer questions, and always seem to leave conversations feeling pleased that you got all your information on the table, but can’t really recall what those other folks were about, then you might be focusing a bit too much on yourself. I understand that we can’t all be perfect and our time is limited. But think about the impression you are leaving.
How to fix it: it is understandable that you want to get the word out about your book, contest, blog post, latest rejection, but others also want to feel heard. Bite your tongue and try to let others talk. Listen. Retweet or tweet their news. You will be amazed at what happens.
2. It Rocks to RECEIVE
Writers who take, take, and take from others whether it is getting others to do their promotion, editing, critiquing, or research, (the list goes on) without giving back are often dumped and eventually find themselves without many good writer friends.
Is it you?: If you find you are receiving more than you are giving back (really think about it here), you might be one of these dudes. When was the last time you helped someone directly? Either shared a link, retweeted their news, liked their page, provided feedback, sent them an agent’s name who just happens to be looking for that person’s genre, etc.
How to fix it: Look up "Giver’s Gain" and the term "Karma." Apply it.
Give for the sake of giving. Offering help to others will improve you in more ways than I can ever explain. However, I’m not saying if someone gives you a query critique that you have to critique theirs back, however, if you find a great article you think they would like, send it to them. Or help one of their friends. Keep the generosity and helping spirit going. Get in the habit of helping.