Monday, April 11, 2011

The Humility of Help

As you know, The Light of Asteria was written from a deeply personal place. I originally never intended to share the story with anyone other than Kate. Because of that, there is a little too much of me in it. :- )
I won't get into the specifics of my psyche seeping into the characters, that would be way too much information. But one insight that's relevant to this post is when Nora states "...allowing someone to help goes against the grain of a survivor."

Most of you know that my life hasn't always been sunshine and roses, and while I wouldn't trade a moment of the good or the bad, for both have shaped who I've become, I will tell you that it has honed my survival instincts.

I've always felt that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It feels like I'm admitting to the world that I'm not smart enough, that I can't figure it out.  It feels like failure.

I believe that we all must learn lessons throughout our lives, and the one lesson I've learned on the road to publication is that you can't do it alone. It takes friends, beta readers, cover designers, formatters, editors of every type, website designers, and then there are the people who admire your work and are willing to take time from their busy schedule to help promote it. Regardless of whether you pay for their services or they're helping out of the goodness of their hearts, they have one thing in common. The are helping  you.

I'd really never thought about it until this past week. My computer has been on the fritz for a while now, but that hasn't stopped me from helping a few friends edit their manuscripts. I don't charge anything because others helped me, and I'm simply passing on that generosity to another indie author. And so yesterday it took me by surprise when one of those writers stopped by my home with a laptop in hand. I started to protest, but she explained that it was her way of thanking me. I was simply overwhelmed.

It was then that I understood that the emotions I feel when someone helps is not failure ... it's humility. Being able to reach out to others and admit that you need help means letting go of pride.