Sunday, March 14, 2010

Can I Help You?

As I was struggling to take four months of newspapers out of my trunk to deposit them in the recycling bin, a woman in a raincoat tapped me on the shoulder.

“Do you need some help?”

“What I need is NOT to carry all these papers at once – I need to take two trips,” I said, picking up stray inserts that had fallen on the wet ground. I admit it, I was angry with myself for looking like I needed help.

She graciously grabbed the boxes out of my trunk. “Well, I’m going this way anyway, so I’ll take your cardboard.”

“Thank you,” I called after her. Almost as an afterthought.

I thought about my reaction to her original offer all the way home from the dump yesterday. Why is it so hard to say, “Yes, please, I’d like some help.”

As writers, there are so many avenues available for help. There are award winning authors, successful agents, and prolific editors all online offering their FREE assistance. There are critique websites, contests, and organizations available to help you improve your craft. Critique partners and groups offer invaluable feedback and suggestions to improve our stories, and writing.

Are we really accepting all the help offered? Or is it easier to say, “No thank you, I can do this on my own.”

How do you react when someone offers you help? And how often do you offer to help another?


Heather Kelly said...

Oh, boy--it is so tough for me to ask for help. I don't know what that's all about. I do try to get what I need on my own, and I offer to help others like crazy. But, boy is it hard for me to ask. Let me know what you have discovered about this phenomenon--because my life would be so much easier if I could accomplish this small miracle!

KCA said...

It is hard! I'm not sure if it's a gender thing or not -- as a woman, do we feel like it's a sign of weakness to ask for help? I know that I have received a ton of help on my current WIP. It's "complete" (well, you know, needs lots of revisions, but complete-ish) only because of some wonderful support I've had from friends, cyber-friends, and the always-acclaimed crit group. And I try to say 'thank you' as much as possible!
I think it's hard for me to ask because I know everyone else is as busy as I am -- and in the words of my daughter "I want to do it by myself."

Alicia Gregoire said...

Asking for help is not a strong suit for me. In fact, even when it's clear that I need it, I still refuse. Is there a support group for that?

KCA said...

I think maybe we just started one... ;)
Thanks for stopping by, Alicia!