How to Build Relationships and When to End Them

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, and typically, that means I post a writing-related blog. I haven’t decided if I will strictly adhere to doing that in 2020. Let me know in the comments if the writing-related post on the first Wednesday is something you would like to see continue.

The reason I’m considering switching it up is the same as the title of this post. It boils down to growth– both inward and outward—and relationships developed over the years as a writer and as a friend.

Relationships between writers are not that different than relationships between friends or coworkers. First, they should be based on mutual respect. If there is no respect between people, the relationship will never be successful. Some people find respect hard to define, as they feel people must agree on everything for respect to be present. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Two people may have widely different opinions and still maintain mutual respect. According to the Oxford Dictionary, respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements and due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others. As can be seen in that definition, nowhere is mentioned or implied that being in agreement is a condition. Respect is based on the recognition that another has value and worth and should be treated with dignity.

Building relationships begin by reaching out to others. It also involves taking a genuine in the person and not just what a person is able to do for you. Building relationships means investment. It is giving part of or opening yourself to another person. It means having trust and willing to give of self.

Second, both (or all parties if polygamous) people in the relationship should give equally. It is not okay for the relationship to be lopsided. While it true one partner or writer may benefit more than the other, each should invest the same amount of time and effort. This is one reason why writing collaborations may not be successful. Take, for example, two writers agree to do a blog post swap to grow their readership. One writer may have 100 subscribers compared to the other’s 10,000 subscribers. The smaller writer, on the surface, may receive more distribution to the larger audience. However, he/she is also providing content for the writer with more followers. Let’s break that down for closer inspection.

Without the smaller writer’s contribution, the more established writer may not have anything to post. He/she may be too busy with other projects or be experiencing writer’s block. Without content, the writer with more subscribers may begin to experience a decline in subscribers because there’s nothing being offered to readers. This does not mean the decline will be permanent.

Likewise, it is important for the smaller writer’s contribution to be dynamic, on-point and well written. Poor writing skills or ill-prepared posts may negatively affect the more established writer’s following. Around Halloween, I watched several videos on the making and background of the classic horror movie bearing the same name. Reportedly, the first film, being low-budget, was not expected to be as big of a hit as it was. However, it had directors with a clear vision of what was wanted to be accomplished, talented actors, and creative editing (among other things). Not saying that future films were not as great as the first, but some of the movies in the franchised struggled. One of the main reasons that are cited for audiences not responding as they had previously was the directors and the writing. While more money was being invested, scripts were straying from the original (cannon) film. Thus, it is important for guest writers to be mindful of the more established writer’s audience preferences and likes in order not to offend them. Furthermore, if the more established writer has requested certain guidelines for posts to be followed, the smaller writer should honor those requests and not go rogue. Additionally, the smaller writer should be cognizant of upload times and not submit at the last minute. This allows the owner of the blog to review pieces without feeling pressured by time constraints to upload something subpar. Again, this is an element of respect.

Next, there should be reasonable expectations on both ends. Just because one writer has a larger readership does not mean those readers will be interested in what the smaller writer is releasing. As a result, a smaller writer may not grow. That is not the fault of the more established writer, and the smaller writer should not become disillusioned or bitter in this situation. Remember, the more established writer has worked hard to develop their readership and has earned their standing. It is not the established writer’s responsibility to build the smaller writer’s audience. The smaller writer must be diligent in building his/her own. It is unrealistic for him/her to expect to piggyback off more established writers to build their entire audience. Each writer must do his/her due diligence.

And just because a writer has large numbers does not dictate engagement. Many bloggers and vloggers have massive numbers, but their number of views is nowhere close to their number of subscribers. Additionally, some writers who may appear more established have purchased followers or their numbers are inflated by bots. These will not generate followers for smaller writers who are using the more established writer’s platform(s).

The flip side of that is the larger writer should be transparent about his/her numbers. If one has high subscribers but low views that should be communicated. I know of an anthology debacle that after six months authors were allowed to remove their stories. So many chose this option that the anthology began to fail. Granted, the remaining writers could remove their work as well. The problem is that all the stories were tainted as previously published. Once removed, the authors may not have another place to put them.

Finally, if a collab is taking away or stifling a writer’s growth, it is time to dissolve the collab. For example, say a beginning or mid-grade writer who typically writes novels spends many hours a week working on a short story for an anthology hosted by a well-established author instead of working on his/her novel and the short story is rejected.

Because the story has specifically been written for the anthology, and the beginning/midgrade author does not have a backup market for this short story, the author is left having wasted time on an unpublished work to collect dust. This time could have been spent in more productive areas or on a project with a better likelihood of publication. Before investing time in this type of situation, the writer should make note of all the pros and cons. And if it fails to work, regardless of the reason given, careful consideration needs to be given before venturing in similar situations.

At the end of the day, writing is a business. Collaborations should benefit all parties involved. Sometimes, they don’t work out, and that’s okay. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. There doesn’t have to be a villain. It’s life. There are lessons in everything. Take each opportunity as a positive to learn and grow. Sometimes to expand, one must leave the familiar behind to travel another path. This may be scary but necessary. Always be grateful.

Creole Bayou is a blog that is constantly evolving. I plan to add more content. The response has been overwhelming for the posts on sorority life and mental health/ mental illness. If I incorporate those regularly into my blog, it may alter the current schedule of topics. Unfortunately, this may reduce some of my collaborations. Nothing is set in stone.

As for when to dissolve a relationship should happen, it is when a relationship becomes unhealthy. If one half of the relationship is causing the other to be unhappy, harbor negative feelings towards self, or feel belittled then the relationship has become toxic and either needs counseling or to be resolved.

Ice Gladiators

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

Copies of my romance short stories, anthologies, books, and novels are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed on my Writing Projects page (http://bit.ly/2iDYRxU) along with descriptions of each of my stories or novels.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click https://genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com/newsletter/ and signup today.

Don’t forget to visit Creole Bayou. New posts are made on Wednesdays, where no Creole, Cajun, or Louisiana topic is left unscathed. Plus, get how-to self-help tips, how to writing tips, and keeping the romance alive and fresh suggestions. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Finally, take the fear out of rush/pledging. If you or anyone you know are interested in joining a college Greek life organization, check out my special series posted each Monday for everything you wanted (and didn’t want) to know about college fraternities and sororities. In these posts, you will find information about both formal and informal recruitment for both NPC and NPHC organizations. Don’t know what NPC and NPHC are? No problem. It’s all explained in this series. This series also provides loads of information for parents who are unfamiliar with the processes, what is expected of parents, and how to be supportive. Visit Sorority Bible Table of Contents to view any or all of these posts.

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