Sunset Photo Copyright J. Dianne Dotson 2021

Dismayed and shocked by someone’s comment that writers are all competing with each other, I quickly and vehemently rejected this statement. I know several other writers and creatives have chimed in as well.

As I put it on Twitter (responding to the wonderful Gail Simone), “Where would I be without my writer friends? NOWHERE. They elevated me. I elevate them, though they do not ask for it. The tent under which we create is infinitely large. And from my point of view, inherently inclusive.”

Ultimately the thought that anyone believes we creatives (and this includes writers, artists, musicians, and all makers) and scientists (whom I’ve spent a fair amount of time working with and for) are all in a great competition saddens me. The fact is, we don’t exist in a vacuum. We cannot succeed in our respective fields with the attitude that we’re all out to take each other’s customers or work. And in my experience, the opposite is true.

It has been my great fortune to have befriended many writers in the past several years, before I published and after. Not once have I ever felt that we were in competition, even if our genres were similar.

Altruism is a survival method used by living beings on this planet. Without altruism, we simply would not have made it this far.

Altruism extends to the creative community. Once one of us has “made it” (and this is a broad term; everyone’s definition of success differs), it makes sense to uplift those around us, and to extend a hand to those who are just beginning in their crafts.

We all had someone in our lives who believed in us. Maybe it was a teacher, or a relative, or a friend. Maybe someone out there took a chance on us, not knowing what to expect. And for every hand that is extended, we must extend one back as well, for the next set of creatives to thrive.

Community thrives with altruism. We all benefit when there is more to be read, listened to, watched, treasured. It is an act of loving kindness to want to lift the voices of others. Someone, somewhere, will hear a voice that resonates. And I hope that it is yours.

J. Dianne Dotson is a science fiction and fantasy author, science and content writer, and watercolorist. Learn more at jdiannedotson.com. @jdiannedotson

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