The other day I was speaking with a non-writer friend of mine.  He asked about my current WiP and I was saying that my crit partners were busy shredding it.  That lead to a conversation about critiquing in general. 

At the end of the conversation, my friend asked “So, why do you do it?  I mean, you spend hours and hours reading other people’s manuscripts – on top of the writing you do for yourself and your job.  You don’t get paid to read that stuff…so why do you do it?”

As I answered him it occurred to me that writers are an amazing group – generous and kind and really into paying it forward.  You see, my answer to my friend was that I read and critique because of the following:

  • It makes me a better writer
  • It helps another writer perfect their craft
  • I get to meet some of the coolest people in the world
  • I love the power of a good story
  • I need people to read for me…and they have always been generous with their time.  It is the least I can do…help them and help others.

What motivates you?  Why are you so generous with your time?


6 thoughts on “Generosity and Writers

  1. You say that writers are into paying it forward, and yet of the five reasons you listed, four of them were for your own benefit.

    Just an observation…

  2. Back when we first started writing together and were completely clueless about EVERYTHING we made ourselves a promise that if we were ever lucky enough to get an agent or (gasp) maybe even a publisher we would always take the time to help other writers. I think it’s just one of those pay it forward things. If there hadn’t been people out there who were willing to read our craptastic manuscript we’d never be where we are today.

  3. I started beta reading because a very generous person offered first–without asking for anything in return. It was so helpful that I became an instant fan of beta reading and want to be as generous with my critiques as that friend was with mine.

    I started critiquing earlier than that, but at first just looked at is as an opportunity to gather compliments (I was very pig-headed and didn’t believe there was anything wrong with my manuscript). As I went on, I learned that I learned about my own problems by helping other identify theirs.

  4. I really love the give and take of the writing community :). I feel like it helps foster relationships, which is good for everybody. Also seconding that it helps me to improve to see other people’s a) struggles and b) successes. I can learn from both!

  5. All of the above. I agree with Rebecca, the writing community is an awesome thing to be a part of.

    I have yet to meet any writer — published or unpubbed — who hasn’t taken at least a little bit of time to offer advice or a helping hand.

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