Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why I Like to Help Writers

Guest Blogger: Rachel Hauck

When I was going to Ohio State, I called my dad. "What should I major in?"

"Journalism," he said, "you're a writer. Write."

"But I like teaching too."


As much as I love writing and as deeply satisfying as it is, there's teacher buried inside, somewhere. I love to help, bring understanding, present ideas and lessons.

I'm not driven to do it, but given the opportunity, I'll take it.

When Susie Warren asked me to join her at MyBookTherapy, I jumped at the chance. Combining teaching and writing . . . how could I not?

Until then, I really didn't feel like I knew enough to teach others how to write. I was so new myself. I'd only published eight or so books, what did I know?

But helping others helps me. Working to find the best in other's work, helping them discover the heart of their story, working through conflict and problems makes me a better writer.

MyBookTherapy clients are a blessing to me. More than they know. Teaching is like that, though. It feeds back.

But I also love to see people going for their dreams. So many of us do not reach for our goals and desires. Life, laziness, excuses, whatever, keeps us from trying to do the thing swirling in our heart.

We are never too old to try our dreams. Want to learn the piano? Learn. Maybe it's a bit late to be a concert pianist, but you can play at church, at nursing homes, for friends and family. For Jesus.

Helping people with something so personal and cherished as writing a book is a great honor. I'm proud of anyone who attempts a book, busting my buttons for those who complete a manuscript.

My goal is to come along side a client and encourage them, guide them while understanding their writing goals, and help them discover the story inside.

As a new author, one thing that frustrated me was not really hearing the truth about my weaknesses. Either everyone loved my work and offered minimal suggestions, or they offered critique without explanation. My heart as an instructor and therapist is to offer insight into what the writer does well, but what they need to work on with the whys and hows.

One of my best publishing days was when a writer friend I'd invited into a novella collection received her first contract. I was more excited for her than me!

I love to help writers because it's in community that we discover more of ourselves and each other.

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