Who has already benefited from the writing you’ve done, and how (include yourself in this answer)? Who will benefit if you keep writing — and how will they benefit?
Had trouble cutting down the wordcount so please forgive my writing double the limit. But I realised even in these many words I’m only just scratching the surface on who my writing has benefited, how my writing has benefited me, and who stands to benefit in the future. :-)
When I was 12, my first poetry piece was published in an anthology. Years later that I realised the publishers made a heap of cash publishing almost everyone and hoping most of them would buy a copy of the $50 tome their poem on page 367. I still credit the claim because the Honorable Mention my poem got was not given to everyone but I often looked back on that publication thinking, “Man, I got played.”
Now, I think, my little 12yo desire to be a writer gave people jobs. Someone read those entries and rejected entries. Editors cleaned them up. Someone worked on page layout and print design. People in the print house were employed too. My little poem, along with hundreds of other peoples little beams of light, powered the poetry industry, and a lot of those aspiring poets probably went on to be published elsewhere. I know I did.
As an adult and freelance writer, I created Writer’s Round-About which is now The Craft of Writing Fiction. I paid other writers to contribute content and I helped fire up and tide over their freelance writing careers. I inspired new writers to join the industry and mentored and coached existing writers as they faced challenges. I was hired to write a poem that said farewell to a well-loved teacher millions of miles away. I polished up poetry in quite a few different countries and I taught a poetry workshop that mentored over 70 poets to publication. I brought horrid first drafts to final draft although failed to follow up to find out if they were published. I even helped a foreign language student earn his degree by helping him through his ESL difficulties when cleaning up his college assignments.
Through all this, I have benefited because I’ve learned a great deal from every experience. My writing has gotten better and better over the years. In learning to teach poetry I truly learned how to write it. In taking on professional editing work I truly learned how to edit. In writing for non-fiction markets I learned about publishing and structure. And through all of that I made money out of nothing more than my time and my skill.
When it comes to fiction, I’m still mostly just helping myself, although, my writing is already helping fellow writers and the economy. I pay for software, and these writing courses. Most importantly, my readers will benefit from the stories I have to tell and I’ll benefit from the money from my imagination that my writing earns.
This post is in response to one of Holly Lisle's workshop activities from Mugging The Muse. I highly recommend this short (and incredibly cheap! just 99 cents!) course for any writer interested in developing their writing passion and firing up their Muse.