Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I've Got A Problem

I've got a problem. I really love helping people. I really do. And the people I love helping most are writers. I've been blessed to have made my living as a writer for a long time--over twenty years. Never Slow Dance With A Zombie is my first attempt at YA, but by no means my first attempt as a writer. I know how fortunate I am to have made a career out of it, and I love giving back. But lately--not so much.

Lately I cringe when anyone asks for writing advice. Here's why. Lately a few wonderful people I know have decided to become writers. And some people I don't really know have decided to become writers, too. And they all want me to mentor them--but not really. They want me to tell them how good they are... but they're not.

And that's my problem. I know how important it is to encourage writers, to nurture them. But how can I encourage when the work I've been seeing lately is bad. Very bad. I can't tell them the truth, can I? And I also can't lie. Right? I wish I could tell them their work is brilliant, or even promising. But I isn't. When I do give the bad news I see the crushed looks on their faces, hear the silence on the other end of the phone. And I find myself not wanting to look at anything any beginner writes anymore. I find myself no longer wanting to help or nurture young writers. I find myself not wanting to be the guy to deliver the bad news.

Does anyone have any advice for me? I could really use it.
And I know it's Wednesday, but the Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge doesn't end til Saturday. Get your answers in.


  1. Ohh, that would be hard. I'm not really a good person to ask for advice myself when it comes to writing. Maybe try and use that excuse. Say, you love to write, but it's hard for you to help OTHER writers sometimes b/c you aren't that great with other people's work or something...Idk.

    I'd hate to be the one to give bad news too.


  2. People know that I have helped writers. People know that I have helped writers that have become successful. And I used to teach on the graduate program at USC. So it's kind of late for me to say "I can't" when people know I already have done it. But thanks, Lauren. Just having you comment helps.