Socialization Among Authors: Turning a New Page

By Steffanie Costigan

March 20, 2024

I am recognizing a really interesting pattern within the author community that I wanted to talk about. I have not seen much talk about it so I thought I would bring it up. On participating with a local author writing group, I realized there was a pattern of behaviour, and if you will a hierarchy.

The hierarchy went something like this for more popular or recognized authors there was more opportunity. The new or aspiring authors were promised opportunities next time to share their works but met with silent desperation each time when they were forgotten or overlooked. I didn’t fully experience this firsthand when participating but I couldn’t help to notice some of the authors being often left out. 

It made me sad seeing the disappointment in their eyes, the desperation they felt to be seen, heard, or even just respected as an equal to these other authors. One by one I noticed that the new authors or aspiring authors stopped coming to the author writing group. You could just tell by the discouraged expression they left with, not to return to the group. 

Eventually, I got tired of seeing this happening in the group. It was mostly the same people, sharing their works, the same people talking, and the same individuals giving feedback it got so repetitive only certain authors speaking and taking the spotlight that I decided it was not beneficial for me to hear the same things and watch in silents as new authors were so discouraged and snubbed by this writing group.

I wondered, was this really what the author community was like? Or was it just the dynamics of this group? I felt shocked when I started to notice this pattern of behaviour outside of the writing group. I noticed some of my friends who had published their works starting to act so differently by me. As if it were a competition, I felt like I was being looked at more as competition than as their old friend. 

I pondered about this greatly wondering if I had done something to make them feel this way. I tried not to talk about my writing around them but rather focus on their writing to show them I was trying to be as supportive as possible. But it didn’t help they saw me more as an object in their way that they wanted to surpass than as a friend. It honestly broke my heart I missed them treating me as a friend rather than a competition. 

At times I will admit I started to grow self-conscious and felt even a little competitive myself, feeling a little betrayed within the friendships. I thought if they were going to treat me as competition then I would become real competition just to spite their treatment.

But then I realized something that changed my perspective. What if authors were just so self-conscious that they were spending too much time focusing and comparing themselves with other authors that it was actually stunting the progression of their own work? Why couldn’t we be happy for other author friends’ successes rather than seeing each other as competition and coveting their success? Why couldn’t we treat each other with equal respect doesn’t matter if you are further in your writing journey than someone else or vice versa. 

I realized some authors have become so consumed in their self-consciousness that they have overlooked their own growth and progression within they’re writing journey. My fear set in, and I realized I didn’t want to fall into that pattern of behaviour. So instead, perhaps I need to put aside my own self-doubts and focus on caring and helping other authors if they were open to the help. In the long run, it won’t stunt my book’s progression or my writing journey to be kind to those who saw me as competition perhaps in time their hearts might be softened and they will pass on the kindness. 

“It doesn’t matter what others are doing. It matters what you are doing.” ~ Unknown 


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