My fellow writers and I use this phrase in relation to a multitude of writing-related tasks, but most often in relation to our responsibilities toward our fellow writing group members. Even if we can’t attend a meeting, we ‘do the work’ – we provide written comments and feedback on the submissions becuase we understand that the success of the group relies on everyone’s willingness to support and advise everybody else.
A public group is just that, and sometimes people sign up but never follow through. After some time passes, they are removed from the ‘roll’, but our fearless administrator tries to give them a bit of leeway. Life does get in the way.
Recently, one such individual sent me an email asking to gander at my query letter. If I had any sort of relationship with this person, if s/he had attended even a single meeting, or if s/he had attempted some sort of correspondence, I might have complied. But given the circumstances, her/his request was completely inappropriate. Instead of saying so, I simply replied:
Since you received my message, you’re obviously registered as a member of this group. If you are interested in receiving feedback on your manuscript or query, you might consider attending some of the meetings. If that doesn’t fit your schedule, then there are plenty of sample queries and how-to articles available on the web. Good luck with your project.
So far, not a peep back. Not that I expected one.
Interestingly enough, another published writer, Colleen Thompson, had a similar experience. Her thoughts can be read here: