The Write Practice

The Online Writing Workbook

If You’re Treating Writers As Competition, You’re Missing The Boat

Have you ever worried about other writers stealing your readers? What about sneaky snatchers stealing your ideas?

What if I told you not to worry? Would you believe me?

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What’s There To Steal?

Think about it, what can other writers steal from you? Ideas? Prose? Your brain? Not likely.

If someone wants to steal, they will. Do you know how many other writers won’t? A lot.

We think our work is so special, a treasure to hide and protect. Do you know what I’ve found? The less I circle the wagons, and the more I share freely, the more books I sell.

Why Should You Open The Door?

Let’s say you meet a writer names Voracio Writicus. Mr. Writicus writes books in the same genre you do. In fact, you really like his work. Oh, and he likes yours.

It turns out that Voracio has a lot of readers. What if Mr. Writicus came to you and said, “Yo, we should bundle a book each and market it to our readers.” What would you say?

You’re probably wondering what the catch is. Let’s assume there isn’t a catch. Mr. Writicus simply wants to give his readers a taste of another writer he likes (yeah, that’s you). Voracio likes to treat his readers like family, sharing often and with an open heart.

Let’s assume you say yes. Congrats. Overnight your work is exposed to Voracio’s email list of 10,000 readers.

He doesn’t care that you only have 50 in your email list. Mr. Writicus has faith in your talent. He knows it’ll pay off in the long run.

Stop Competing And Start Collaborating

I love making new friends, especially fellow writers. Why can’t we do that with writing?

The moment I realized I hated working alone was the moment I reached out to other writers. The results? I’ve learned new writing techniques, improved my prose, found better tools, exploded my marketing, found new readers and made a living as a full-time writer.

That never would have happened if we’d hidden behind our castle walls, defending our hoards. I thank God every single day for veteran writers who opened their doors and shared. That’s where I learned. Now I feel compelled to do the same. Do you?

Why do you look at writers as competition?

PRACTICE

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For the next fifteen minutes, pretend that you’re hiring a writing partner and compose a Wanted Ad for the type of writer you’d like to work with. Tell us the genre, your goals, personality type, etc. Get creative :)

Post your practice in the comments section below and please provide feedback for your peers.

About Carlos Cooper

Carlos is author of the Corps Justice novels. Get the box set of Books 1-3 for FREE HERE.

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  • Young_Cougar

    Hi, guys! This is Young_Cougar and I’ve got a proposal for you! I’m looking for a partner in crime. Really? No, not if you call writing fiction a crime but if you’re all for the thrill, I can guarantee this will be more hazardous on your nerves and all your feels than anything you’ve ever done before. That’s actually a pretty clear description of the job.(Pats myself on the back) Not because I’m a bear, but because writing just seems to do that to a person. Still, I’m no saint. You’ll probably have to bear with my tendency to be very stubborn about the particularities of my writing, but besides that, I’m a pretty civil person. I like to share and talk to people about what I like and what I’m doing. And I write for the pure pleasure of writing and for my readers joy. Picking a genre, for me, is like picking a favorite day of the week. (I’m not going to go into this.) Although, I do tend to work more on fantasy than any other genre, which is ironic, because all my published work is all based on real-life-fiction. Including my serialized blog story. Weird. So if you got a good vibe out of this, please comment below and we can negotiate the contract, and if you got a stalkerish/creepy vibe……..(bows head) I’m sorry. =)

    • http://www.carloscooper.com/ Carlos Cooper

      Cheeky, cheeky :) Great stuff. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://blog.fluenthistorian.com/ Natalie

    I never really thought about it before reading this post, but I do often think of other writers as competition. After reading this, I obviously need to change my way of thinking! I think the reason I looked at other writers as competition is I sometimes regard writing as a zero-sum game: as in, if so-and-so is successful, that means I can’t be successful. I’m not sure why I thought that, as it’s obviously wrong and silly.

    • Young_Cougar

      I think it’s pretty natural. Your writing is your baby and you want to cuddle and keep it safe. Once upon a time, I used to feel the same way, and because of that I started hogging my work, waiting for it to become famous. So what changed? Well, I actually got really piqued at my attitude. It was getting really tiring to hold onto that kind of philosophy, and then I realized that I write just for the sake of writing. For the pleasure it brings me and to be able to give the same kind of pleasure that other writers have given me. With my priorities straight, I then started to feel more relaxed about sharing my work. Also, since then I’ve some to appreciate a lot of forms of writing that I used to fell strong indignation against. For example – fan-fiction, cross overs, role-playing. Now, I’ve actually come to enjoy these things.

      So what I’m trying to say is that if you really want to move on from this sort of thinking, maybe you should consider re-thinking your priorities. Why do you even write in the first place? Did you used to, and are you still enjoying it? What did or do you get from reading other peoples work? Are you conservative about other writing formats? Other genres? I hope I helped.

    • http://www.carloscooper.com/ Carlos Cooper

      It’s the natural thing to do. We see others trying to do the same thing and we put our guard up. Took me a while to lower the gates :)
      Thanks for sharing, Natalie!

  • Arpita

    Wanted! A free thinker. He who knows no bounds. A free spirit to roam the paradise of words. He who needs no slumber. A happy soul bubbling with enthusiasm. He who needs no convincing. Looking for literary love. Looking for a writer mate who shares a zest for life.

    • Young_Cougar

      Wow, love this. This all but describes me except I need slumber, even when I don’t want to. So how can I help you?

    • http://www.carloscooper.com/ Carlos Cooper

      Fantastic! “Looking for literary love.” Love it :)

  • Chloee

    Looking for a writer with no limits, imagination, and great detail in stories. Need to tell a story of hardship, woe, and misery. Into deep stuff then I’m the guy. Let’s spin a tale from the fine silk of life Need to put up with my stubbornness, need for space, and my personality.It’ll be a long road filled with surprises but it’ll be a great one.

    • http://www.carloscooper.com/ Carlos Cooper

      “a writer with no limits” I wish there were more of us :)

  • http://www.illegalwriting.com/ Monica

    I agree with this completely. It’s too much work to worry about what other writers are doing. You just need to focus on making your product the best possible and view fellow writers as a resource when you meet them.

    • http://www.carloscooper.com/ Carlos Cooper

      Amen. Thanks, Monica!

    • http://www.birgitterasine.com/ Birgitte Rasine

      Amen seconded! This is the way Nature herself works. Collaboration and symbiosis. Sure, there are aggressors and competitors but they too fit into the larger, grander scheme of universal collaboration. When I started my business years ago, I never once worried about other design firms, nor do I worry about other writers. In fact, the reason I blog here is to open up my experience and knowledge to others, so that collectively we may leave a higher, deeper, more beautiful and lasting legacy for humanity. Wish that all of the presidents who lead our nations were like the one from my country, the Czech Republic: Václav Havel, a playwright.

    • http://www.finallywriting.com/ Jackie

      Monica, I agree. We must focus on our own truth, our internal bubbling of creativity and be open to share it with others. Doing so creates community, keeps the work alive and each other inspired.

  • http://alexbrantham.com/ AlexBrantham

    Wanted! Fellow writer to share the journey with. Must like laughing at other people’s misfortunes (especially if they involve a well-placed banana skin), hiding behind the sofa when a really scary monster appears, and hurling abuse at spectacularly evil baddies. Ability to proof read a bonus. Also need to be happy with an open relationship – I can’t promise monogamy.

    [NB: I’ve gained a huge amount from sharing with other writers, not just when they’ve looked at my writing but also when I’ve looked at theirs. This really is a win-win, folks]

    • Young_Cougar

      Ugh,….I’m more of a thinker. But I do enjoy humor. What specific genre do you normally work in? I’m thinking sci-Fic or fantasy from your into up top.

    • http://www.carloscooper.com/ Carlos Cooper

      Ha! Great stuff. Thanks for sharing, Alex!

  • Philip Harris

    I see other writers as inspiration, not competition, I always have.

    • Yougn_Cougar

      Dittos.

    • http://www.carloscooper.com/ Carlos Cooper

      Exactly!

    • The_Philosopher

      You write as good as you read.
      You’re as healthy as you eat. (And exercise and rest etc etc etc)
      Your music will be as good as your ears
      Your script will be as good as the movies/stories you love

  • http://www.robynlarue.com Robyn LaRue

    What fantastic comments to follow a message all writers need to “get” if they are to have a career. The breakthrough for me came when I encountered another writer who wanted an opinion but didn’t want to share her work (she did, we are friends now), and I realized I’d rather give everything I write away than stuff it in a trunk. :) Ideas are plentiful. I’ll just write more.

    Am looking for beta readers and anyone willing to check out my newly minted site (really hard to go from a good following to a new site! am willing to content read for anyone, but don’t feel I would offer the most thorough line edit. Sorry about that. :(

    • http://www.carloscooper.com/ Carlos Cooper

      “I realized I’d rather give everything I write away than stuff it in a trunk”
      Awesome :)
      Thanks for sharing, Robyn!

    • Young_Cougar

      Hi, I would love to read your work. Just share the link. :)

      • http://www.robynlarue.com Robyn LaRue

        The web site is http://www.robynlarue.com I need to start getting a few fiction projects on there. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  • Lina

    Oh! Writer that ready to be in any place he is called, outgoing, and ready for uneasy process. Person who tends to be positive and humorous… I suppose such features can be pleasent for colaborative work)))….but I also thing he should be such a happy camper from one side but also who sees a sence of things and can share them with readers. Ad writer should be a person with whom you can discuss watever you want

  • The_Philosopher

    This is not so much an ad for the practice, but rather a simple comment. I really love watching series on TV and it seems to me as though series are taking over as movies kinda drift into the background a bit.
    The thing with series like Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and Suits is that they have teams of writers who put them together. And some of that stuff is really well writen.
    I really do think that collaborative writing is the way to go.
    I have been in the closet too long and only realised later in life that writing is what I want to do. I have never seen myself as a writer or ever thought of writing as a worthy endeavor but as the years have roled on the itch to write has just gotten more and more.
    The late fantasy author, David Gemmel, is one of my favourites and it is his work that inspired me to start writing.
    If I could make money from writing then I would really be living one heavily utopic life. . .
    But I digress. What I wanted to say (in addition to my simple comment) is that I am starting out with my first short story and I am writing it together with a friend of mine (who also has no idea that he is actually a writer) and it’s going really well. I don’t think I would be able to put it together if I was on my own. . .

  • http://www.finallywriting.com/ Jackie

    Thank you for this article! I feel that thinking of other writers as competition comes from a place of fear-based thinking. We must write through fear, comparison to others and competition. Doing so allows us to stand more confidently in our work. It fosters open-heartedness, learning and collaboration.

  • http://www.dawnyspace.blogspot.com.au/ Dawn Atkin

    Seeking writing partner and collaborator to share my journey into the world of platform development, tribe building and indie publishing. This initial project is a compilation of nature writing pieces including prose, poetry and several micro short stories. This could expand into future shared projects if we find our skills are complimentary and enhanced with a sense of shared adventure, good humour and a willingness to step into new and exciting possibilities. If this sounds like you please send me a message and I’ll contact you. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Warm Regards Dawn

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