By Fern Brady
Practicing Mutuality Within Your Writing Community
Creating a cohesive writing community is an integral part of the Houston Writers Guild mission. But what does community really mean? How can we create true fellowship that leads to mutual success? Fellowship can be defined as practicing mutuality — the art of giving and receiving. Mutuality includes building reciprocal relationships, sharing responsibilities, and helping each other. Therefore, in a genuine writing community, there is mutual support.
The Concept of Humility in a Literary Fellowship
Essential to the writing community is the concept of humility. When one person or group believes that they are superior to others, they stop giving. They look down on others as unworthy and become elitist about with whom they share their time. This can kill genuine fellowship by forming cliquish circles. Humility is not thinking you are less, but rather thinking less about yourself and more about others. Self-centeredness breeds arrogance and leads to a “take for yourself but give nothing back” attitude. First of all, the goal of a writing community is fellowship via mutually beneficial interdependence.
Not everyone to whom you give will reciprocate, which can often make fellowship hard to implement. Some of the fellowship and mutuality you give to your writing community may even impede your own success. Nevertheless, you should not give up reaching out and building your literary network. What you give to others will come back to you, even if not directly from the person you helped.
Creating Your Writing Community in 2017
As we start 2017, consider your role in helping to create genuine fellowship among Houston Writers Guild members. Ask yourself these key questions:
- Are you giving as much as you are receiving to your network , your critique group and your fellow authors? How could you improve your writing community?
- Do you offer the same support to other authors as you would like in return?
- Have you set specific goals to create a network? What type of support and fellowship are you seeking?
- How can you build a positive and vibrant writing community within the many literary organizations in Houston?
Take a minute and write down the answers to these questions, and refer to them often. In addition, determine what it is you want to receive from your own writing community and project those qualities. Examine what you have to offer others, and give it away freely. Be aware of what your network needs from you, and you will receive exactly what you need from them. Let Houston Writers Guild be a guiding resource. At HWG, we work to inspire fellowship among the many literary artists and organizations throughout and beyond Houston.
Fern Brady is CEO of the Houston Writers Guild and Owner of Inklings Publishing. She began her career as a foreign correspondent. Fern taught at Alief ISD for 15 years, before becoming a full-time realtor in Houston. All the while, she pursued her real passion — writing. Her short stories have been published in Eclectically Carnal, Eclectically Criminal, Short Stories by Award-winning Texas Authors Vol.2, and Waves of Passion. “Penelope”, a poem, appeared in Spider Road Press’ compilation, In the Questions. “The Smiley Face Blatoon”, Fern’s first children’s picture book, launched in July 2015 under the pen name Lady Nefari Ydarb. The book won 1st place in the Texas Authors Association Contest for Best Picture Book for All Ages. The next year, bi-lingual edition was released. Contact Fern through Inklings Publishing, and on her website at www.fernbrady.com. Also, check out other books published by Inklings Publishing.
Edited and Optimized by Kimmarie Rojas, MLS, SEO, 2017