I didn't respond in any particularly clever way, but this interaction brings up an important idea. Are we, as a writing community, in direct competition with each other? And if so, shouldn't we cede no conceivable advantages to our competitors?
For example, Wordsmith here has handed over his blog's bullhorn for the day. What a gaffe! What a blunder! It's like scoring on your own goal!
Firstly, let's address whether or not the writing community is, by definition, competitive. I would say yes. It's an industry based on sales, money, marketing, and popularity. There are only so many books that are going to be accepted for publication by major publishers this year, and we can't all happily jam ourselves and our manuscripts into those slots. We're not here for the kumbaya, we're here for the s'mores.
But freely exchanging tips and ideas is not the same thing as giving up the secret ingredient to your secret recipe, or your uber-gosu cheat codez. This is not Superman handing out Kryptonite like candy to all of his nemeses.
Writing is a craft, not a recipe. It does require different techniques and approaches, but it's darn hard, and frankly we're all idiots for loving it. But I think the reason that we do love it is because it's hard -- because it's an exercise of such depth, one that requires so very much of who we actually are. And you can't just copy that off somebody's writing blog. When they think they're stealing for fun and profit, they're actually just stealing for boredom and small gain.
All that being said, I still hope that my ideas on writing propel somebody's manuscript to publication. I sincerely hope that people come to my blog trying to steal my ideas and those things legitimately help them in being better at their craft. That doesn't make my craft any worse.
In a world filled with text, we need people who can turn letters into words into meaningful, powerful stories that resonate. As a community, we have to rise up and present ourselves and our craft as being relevant in a day when people expect every word for free. Our little groups of writing blogs can empower each other in pursuit of this. And I'm all for helping raise the community understanding of story one tiny notch by writing my little blogs.
Helping each other out doesn't hurt ourselves. So things like guest blogging, commenting meaningfully, and sharing advice only helps everybody.
Carl Duzett is from Portland, Oregon. At a young age, he was bitten by a radioactive writer and has been scribbling weird crap ever since. He currently resides in Maryland with his wife and son. Read his half-baked thoughts at * [asterisk], and his quarter-baked thoughts at twitter.com/cduzett.