Writing Parables – Life lessons that apply to writing 

A while back, I watched Black Rifle Coffee Company’s commercial: The Last Cup. It’s roughly a five-minute mini-movie commercial of a bunch of military veterans fighting over the last cup of coffee. The first four minutes include everyone going from being happy to a fistfight, an all-out brawl, a car chase, a car wreck, a helicopter escape, and some aliens. It’s only at minute five that anyone reminds them, they own a coffee company! 

Sometimes we writers are like this fighting over readers. We want their attention. We start friendly, but as soon as a potential reader comes along, we are like a bunch of toddlers screaming “mine!” After bickering, vying for attention, and glaring at one another, we end up with egg on our face because the reader did something unexpected and mind-blowing. The reader … read them both. 

In this world of crafted word portraits, we sometimes forget that readers have a voracious appetite for the written world of their choice. Some enjoy romance; others like mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and so many more. Some people, like me, deeply enjoy a well-crafted blend of several of these genres. 

My point is this. Don’t turn this into a competition. It’s not. We writers can help ourselves, and more importantly, aid our readers when we lift each other up. Readers notice when we are positive and point them to similar books, stories, news, blog post, and articles. If they love my work, and I point them to someone like you with similar work that they also enjoy, they are likely to come back to look for more recommendations. What happens when I realize where my new readers are coming from? Most of the time, I return the favor and send my readers to you. 

If we take the time to build each other up, we will make a team that is working toward the same goal—happy readers. If we make this a competition, we will soon find ourselves isolated. What could have been, will only be a pipe dream. I know it is contradictory to the advice of some experts, but I have yet to see kindness turn readers away. Give it a try. You never know. The person you help could be the next Steven King, who points people to your books. 

I’d love to hear about your success story. Or perhaps you struggled with this at one time. I can’t wait to hear all about it in the comments below. What is your moment of sharing someone else’s story? Has anyone ever shared your work?