There is a lot to be said for the value of friends, especially writer friends. I’m very fortunate to have a good many friends who are also writers – good writers – who allow me to participate with them in critique groups. But our friendships are more than just our writing. Several of these people are also friends in and of themselves. We talk about family, about jobs, about many other topics outside of writing. It’s a nice balance to have. I’m lucky to have it.
I’ve been thinking recently of many of my former ICL students. My interactions with them were so beneficial to me, and I think to them as well. I enjoyed that opportunity, and I appreciated that they shared with me their hopes, their dreams, and their difficulties. Many of them were very talented, and I have no doubt they will see their own names in print in time. My reward for that job goes so far beyond a paycheck. It truly was a gift to be able to work with those talented individuals and to learn from them while offering them guidance.
I’ve entered into a new realm now. I am mentoring another writer. It’s a weird experience to work so closely with another writer, but I am learning that this, too, comes with many rewards. He is a very talented young man, and I have no doubt of his future success. His ideas are original, and his talent is exceptional. He sees the world through a unique perspective, and his voice is one that I think many readers will be attracted to. I’m eager to see how he grows and develops through this writing process.
I’ve said before that there is no way for me to pay back those who mentored me, so I invest time into paying forward. The benefits of that to me, to my writing, far exceed any type of payment. I have developed friendships, strengthened my craft, and I feel that I’m doing what I should be – doing the right thing for my writing, and for my friends in writing. I’m lucky that I have these opportunities. Far better to seek to help each other than to spend time in snarky bitterness throwing about rude comments because you don’t think you’re as good as someone else, or you’re intimidated by that person. That ultimately ends in your soul suffering, if not also your writing. I love my writing friends. I love what they offer me as a writer and as a person. This business is, ultimately, the best one there is.