#TuesdaySerial Blog Hop - Getting help & being helpful

Today is the day for the TuesdaySerial blog hop, prompted by the wonderful guest blog post last week by Sage Cohen. She posed a number of questions to prompt thought about writing and the writing life in the last year. As she suggests, I'd like to pick one and expand on it.

Who did you help, and who helped you?

I've done a number of things in this past year, but to answer this question, I'd like to talk about something I didn't do. On November 14, 2010, in the thick of a NaNoWriMo that seemed to be dying a slow, ugly death, I said this:
This NaNaWriMo is just not going anywhere. Every scene seems bolted onto a overall plot too thin to support it. Seems like a waste of time to throw more effort at it.
In response, Catherine Russell, Janet Aldrich, Laura Eno and Claudia Osmond all rallied to encourage and support. However, two other friends need special acknowledgment.

Carrie Clevenger, in a brilliant channeling of a drill sergeant, said: Writing for love is child's play. This is war. you against that blank page. That's all I'm saying. It's only a waste of time if you quit this far in. Tough stuff, but it's what I needed to hear.

Then, Shirley Jo Eaves did something even more extraordinary. To help me, she let me know how I'd helped her:
Tony, You don't know me. But somehow or another I stumbled upon your blog and you absolutely inspired me to write more. I read where you had written over 200,000 words, (at the time) and I started tracking the number of words I had written.... I like reading your flash fiction. I think I would like you if I got to know you. What I'm saying is, you inspired me. I think you owe it to your readers, and to others you may inspire to see this thing through. Partly because of you, and because of other great writers out there, I'm doing my first Nano. And believe me, you haven't seen bad until you read my first draft. But I'm learning things about myself by doing it. If nothing else, I'm learning about persistence and the ability to push through to the end. Please keep going! You never know who you may be inspiring to do the same thing, if not this year, then maybe the next.
This was, and remains, humbling for me to hear. Humbling, and yes, inspiring. Despite a schedule which shouldn't have allowed me to do it, and which put me 7,000 words behind with 11 hours left before the deadline on November 30, I did it anyway and finished the 50,000 word draft to win NaNoWriMo. I didn't quit.

I did it for my friends, I did it for myself, and I did it for the book. My NaNo is now my WIP, and the subject of my ongoing editing efforts. It's a mucky mess, but even with this first pass of corrective editing, the book is getting worlds better, expanding in complexity and depth, improving in logic and flow, sharpening in language and focus. If I'd given up back on November 14, 2010, I'd have nothing.

Any one of the people I've mentioned above are great people to follow on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you might happen to come across them. To take Sage Cohen's question backwards, through my openness about my struggles with this book and with previous efforts, I was helped in my writing and I have helped others write. How about you? Who did you help, and who helped you?

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.
Like it? Tweet it!

For other posts in the TuesdaySerial Blog Hop, check these out:


  1. Well, I can give that back. You guest-blogged me to give me exposure. You betaed my #12Days story. And a couple of weeks ago, when I was sure I couldn't possibly come up with a FridayFlash, you gently nudged me and I turned out one my better efforts. So right back atcha, Tony.

    This constant give and get is what we're supposed to do for each other. You -- and @mkelly317, @futurenostalgic, the Jasons, Brandon Layne, Icypop, Grace Crone and all kinds of other people who comment and say positive things (which nearly always arrive at a "giving up" point for me -- I see Divine intervention in that) make it possible for me to go on. If I can give that back, I always will.

  2. Tony,

    I always enjoy your posts, be them fiction or fact.

    That said, I can't really narrow down who I would thank for their help... there are too many. The entire #fridayflash community is incredibly gifted and generous and helpful, but I would thank Jon Strother for starting the whole thing off and keeping it going. I'm thankful every day to be part of such a great group of people.

    Keep writing, and don't ever give up. You're very talented.

  3. Wow I lost this post Tony. I think writers and artists benefit so much from a community of other writers and artists. No one else, except someone in the trenches understands us and that camaraderie binds us together and spurs us on through life struggles and writing struggles alike. I know the #fridayflash community has helped me. Not sure how I would have gotten through this past year without them.

  4. Janet & Catherine: Agree completely - the community of folks is fantastic.

    Rachel: Yes, the #FridayFlash folks in particular. I blogged about them over at WriteAnything yesterday. They're just the best.

  5. What Carrie said is so true - it is war. I have a favorite quote hanging just above my monitor from Jack London - "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
    That is the only way my writing progresses. As others have said, the fridayflash community is full of wonderful, supportive writers whom I count as friends...even the ones who disparage cats. ;)

  6. I definitely concur, Tony ... our community of writers ... actually our communities of writers ... are the best. When you have a problem, there's always somebody out there to encourage you and to point you in the right direction. I'm so glad that you stuck with nano and that you're progressing on your book :-)


Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?