Why this is a mistake: People have a tendency to be afraid of losing out to others, and they sometimes sense they are competing in the workplace. However, I have not found that to be true in publishing. Yes, at one time Fabio did get a two-book deal from Avon at the same time I was rejected by Avon for a book, but I really don’t think it came down to them deciding between the two of us. Okay, maybe it did, and his hair was better.
There are writers who feel protective of their work and their talent, whatever it might be. They feel that if they share it, somehow they are giving out gold bullion from a secret stockpile that cannot be replaced. Which is, of course, wrong. Because any writing advice given, any knowledge shared, will be processed through another writer’s own experiences and craft and artistry and end up being something completely different.
The solution: Because writing is such an individual and lonely business, it can be easy to slip into a bunker mentality. There is also a tendency in certain genres for writers to develop a good ol’ boy, incestuous network that keeps others on the outside. This works all right for a chosen few, but not for most. The reality is that the world of writing is so diverse that competition really doesn’t exist.