Jonathan Maberry was one of the keynote speakers at Pennwriters this year. His speech was absolutely inspired.
He spoke about how he got his start as a writer. He'd heard that writing is a solitary life, that writers are reclusive and jealous of other writers. So he worked alone.
Then he went to his first conference. Not only were the other writers friendly, they lifted each other up. There wasn't any jealousy. These were people who enjoyed their work, who shared their ideas, and who worked to help others succeed.
The thing about writers is that we benefit by helping our "competition". With most businesses, you buy from either company A or company B. If you buy from company A, then B has lost you as a customer, and vice versa.
Not so with writers.
If a reader picks up book A and reads it and loves it, then that reader will continue to look for books written by that author. In the meantime, the reader is looking for another fix. They're looking for another book to read that will entertain them and move them like book A did. And so they pick up book B. If they love it, they now have two authors from whom they buy books. And the cycle continues.
The goal of writers is to create a readership. To write our best so that readers come back for more. Not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of the industry.
And so our community, the community of writers, is not a competitive one. We feed each other. As Mr. Maberry put it: a writer walking into a conference is like a vampire walking into a blood bank.
And that's why he doesn't put other writers down. If author A slams author B on his blog, Jonathan Maberry said he'll go buy author B's book. There's no room in this industry for negativity or malice.
For me, writing is a joy. I'd like to spread that joy to as many people as I can.