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.