I’m a plant freak. That doesn’t mean I’m a freaky plant (either vegetative or the spy variety) but that I love plants.
This week it’s strawberries. Strawberries are interesting little critters. They’re invasive, but sneakily so. During the summer, under the guise of spreading out their leaves to soak up the sun, they put out runners that move into places where strawberries are not supposed to go.
They’re very strong and can survive things that kill other plants. Part of the reason for this is all those runners.
The parent plant puts out runners not only to perpetuate itself but also because the baby strawberries send nutrients back to the parent plant once they put down roots. In reality you have not one plant but a colony, all interdependent and interconnected. If one plant grows in a place where there’s lots of water, and another is usually dry but has plenty of nutrients, the two can trade and each fill in the gaps in the other.
Eventually all those runners dry up, when the plants are strong enough to survive on their own.
As writers we’re much the same, or at least we should be. One writer alone has weaknesses. I might not be able to see the problems with my plot, while another person doesn’t understand grammar. Standing alone, neither of us could do what needs to be done. Working together we’re both stronger.
I’ve also heard of successful authors who mentor others, who in turn mentor others, creating a support network that is seldom found in any other career. Those sneaky little runners go out, feeding the baby authors until their roots are strong enough to survive on their own.
But unlike strawberries, those runners don’t dry up. The network just continues to grow, authors helping authors through the generations.
If we used that network to its capacity, the author community would have everything. Like strawberries, we already have everything. We just don’t know it yet.