Maybe I’m biased but I see authors at being one of the best at giving back to their own communities (and any community that needs it, really). The best example of this in action are Patric Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders. As if I really needed another reason to love Rothfuss, he has really used his position to give back (raising over 2 million dollars for Heifer international since 2008). It’s really not unusual for authors to donate to charity or to work toward literacy goals but in this case, it’s really great because he has thrown himself into it as much as he has his writing. It’s not a back burner project for him, it’s something he’s really passionate about and that he spends a lot of time organizing and working for. It’s almost like “giving back” has been a vision for him even before he “struck gold” with The Name of the Wind.
This made me think: what is my “giving back” vision? Community service, I think, is the heart of society and it has been the heart of my life. When I was a teenager, I spent more time cleaning up highways and doing fund raisers with my school’s Key Club than I did at parties. I love helping those when I can. Now, I try to “give back” in the writer community in small ways. That’s why I started the Indie Spotlight. I wanted to give my fellow authors as much exposure as I can and help them spread the word about their work. Still, I want to do more…I want to do something big, like Rothfuss.
I have no idea what that is right now. I feel like I’m making a checklist as I grow and learn as an author. I know that I want to give back to Nanowrimo when I can because it was such a big part of me breaking out of my author’s shell. I want to do a collection of stories with a few fellow authors for charity, like the Blog Hop I sponsored a while back. I have, in my mind, a shortlist of charities I will help when I get to the point that I can really do some good for them.
Maybe this is why authors are more charitable than other professionals…we spend the beginnings of our careers writing blank checks for those who lift us up and when we make something out of it, we get a chance to pay those debts back. It makes me proud to be a part of the community when I see authors lifting each other up, offering advice, hosting each other on blog tours, and promoting each other’s books. It makes me even more proud when I see authors reaching beyond the writing community and helping out those who are sick, or impoverished…when I see authors taking a stand and doing something good in the world. It makes me feel like I’m part of something that is real and good…it makes me feel like I’m home.