8 Ways You Can Grow Your Creative Work While Helping Others

“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” — Les Brown

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You want to help others, but you’re drowning in getting everything done for your own creative work.

I experienced this early in my writing career. Then one day, I knew the answer to an author’s research question she’d asked on an author email loop. I answered her, and from her gracious thanks, I realized when my research failed, I could ask authors on the loop to help me.

Here are 8 ways helping others boosted my creative work. I hope you can adapt them to your creative work.

8 Ways I Helped Others and Grew My Creative WorkBusiness Discussion

1. I joined critique groups. Thinking critically about another’s writing and story teaches me what works and what doesn’t. I can heed these things in my work. Also, I want to give others correct suggestions. So, I look up what I question in their work, and learn. As I mature in critiquing, I discern what’s important to suggest and what’s better left alone. I’ve developed lasting relationships.

2. I accepted an author’s search for “influencers,” people who help spread the word about an author’s upcoming novel. Although a novice then, I interested some people in her book. I read several of her novels and kept in touch with her. Now years later, she’s agreed to read my upcoming book as a potential endorser.

bookstore3. I volunteered at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference bookstore a few times. Working among a well-populated cross section of Christian fiction, I discovered the many genres, which helped me select a genre that fit me. This year I’ve volunteered to be a reporter for the ACFW publication. I’ll report on one conference workshop. Another skill I’ll learn.

4. I joined local writers groups and have given presentations and worked on their boards. Besides absorbing much while developing the content of presentations, I’ve honed the skill of speaking. This will help in promoting my novel. Working on the boards has provided me closer relationships with other authors. And I’ve picked up much about the business of being an author.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. I created a blog to help others use their creativity and perform the tasks related to their creative work. Writing the posts has given me a greater appreciation for the creativity God has given others and me. I recognize how creativity has sustained me in everything over the years.

6. I started writing book reviews for the books I’ve enjoyed. Collecting the aspects that engaged me in the stories, directs me to what I want to emulate in my stories.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7. I promote other authors. This has forced me to become adequate in using Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and guest blogging in both directions. In joining an author’s promotion team, I’m learning the tasks and how such a team works.

8. I pray for authors, editors, and agents. I understand much about the challenges and joys of a writing career, especially from Gods perspective.

After helping in these ways over the years, I’ve discovered an unexpected bonus to my career. People have learned who I am. That can only help in a career where exposure is crucial.

What examples do you have in which helping others has helped in your creative work?

When Opportunity Knocks, Are You Locking the Door?

“He that tries to seize an opportunity after it has passed him by is like one who sees it approach but will not go to meet it.” — Kahlil Gibran

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An opportunity rises from an email, a blog, a phone call, a visit, or another source. Our minds whirl with the possibilities and then dart to the failure probabilities. Aren’t our second reactions the voice of reason? We delete the email, close the blog, excuse ourselves from the phone call, or change the subject.

Later we wished we’d taken a third look.

Here are things to consider before you reject an opportunity.

The Third Look

blueprintConsideration 1. Are you set on the direction you want your life to take, and the new prospect fails to fit in your plan? If you’ve spent much time on mapping your goals, perhaps the opportunity would lead you off course. Still, take a third look:

  • With a brainstorming and open mind, ask: How might this opportunity fit into my plans?

ClockConsideration 2. Is it a good fit but with your current focus and workload, it’s the wrong time to take advantage of the offer? Take a third look.

  • If the offer is an ongoing need or is valid for a long period, capture all the details, including contact information. Store this in a physical or virtual folder. Things happen, and the right time might be tomorrow.

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Stack of Files and PapersConsideration 3. On the second look, did you envision mounds of work? Take a third look.

  • All good opportunities take time, energy, and work. You want to make sure the opportunity is the right thing to do, but don’t reject it because it requires effort. See 4 Choices That Improve Your Perseverance to help you decide whether to take on the work.

Image courtesy of Patou at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Patou at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Consideration 4. Does the thought of pursuing it scare you? You’ve stepped out in the past and failed? Take a third look.

  • The anxiety could be good. It means the opportunity will be a growing experience. Previous failures prepare you for THE opportunity. This may be THE one.

 

Example

I’m going to the American Christian Writers Conference in the fall. It’s a setting for much learning, a time to network, and an opportunity to pitch books to editors. Already feeling intimidated, I chose to pass on volunteering this time.

Then a call arrived by email for reporters to cover the conference sessions for the ACFW Conference Ezine in return for some publicity.

At the last ACFW conference I attended, my second look at reporting brought on tremors of failure. An introvert, I could barely handle volunteering in the bookstore.

This year reporting failed to fit into my plan. I planned to fill my conference time learning, networking, and pitching. Reporting would be too much work during the conference—and after, when I might be preparing a proposal for an interested editor.

Before I hit the delete key, my mind opened and I saw a perfect opportunity to help out with the ezine while adding an activity to my platform-building plan. Now that I’d blogged for a while, I felt less fearful. And the work would be worth the benefits.

This year was the right time, and I could fit this opportunity into my plans. I sent my information to the coordinator and will be a 2013 ACFW Conference Ezine reporter.

For me, I can use KNOCK for accepting opportunities.

Knees: I will drop to my knees and pray for God’s guidance.

Never: I will never fear what God puts before me.

Obediently: I will obediently pursue it.

Call: I will call on God to equip me.

Know I will know running the race gets the prize.

Will you share a time when you took a third look at an opportunity and succeeded in your decision?

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