I will always try to help people--yes, even if that means freely giving away tips and tricks and HARD WON lessons I've gleaned from my journey along the way to people who are in the same industry I am.
My *gasp* competition.
You don't see it as much in the writing community, but the music business can be a horrifically cutthroat place. There's a predominantly hoarderish attitude toward n00bs and how they must 'pay their dues.' I've always hated that bitter attitude.
But I've never understood keeping knowledge to yourself. If I can give some advice that saves someone from having to learn something the hard way like I did? You're damn right I'm going to tell them. Every time. Whether or not they take that advice isn't up to me. That's on them.
Why would I arm my competition with knowledge that could make them better?
That reminds me of a scene from the movie GO! (which, if you haven't seen, WATCH IT! It's one of my all-time favourites.)
The dad's talking to his son about how in his day, you got to the top by being greater, stronger, smarter than the guy who was already there. And now that's changed. NOW you just wait for the guy at the top to fuck up with ineptitude and BAM! You're on top.
IF it's a competition, I want to beat the best. (I do not think it's a competition, though it is a competitive industry.)
If I was on a BATTLE OF THE BANDS, I don't want to win because the best band's van broke down on the way over and I win by default. I want them to be there playing their asses off, making me sweat and smile and sing my fucking heart out, too.
When I'm playing pool with someone, I HATE winning because they scratch and sink the 8 Ball too early.
Just like the movie BRING IT ON, I want to win knowing that I have to bring my A game against another amazing team.
I don't want to win by default. I don't think I'm the best. I know with every book I write, I improve. I shed old habits. I hone my language. My drafts get neater. I compete against myself to be better than I was last year, last month, last week.
And I read something someone else writes, and I flail with delight at their skill. I smile, I wail, I want to be better so maybe my words can make someone feel the way their words just made me feel.
When you start thinking you're The Best, you're getting complacent, and saying you have no more room to grow.
I saw this video and it reminded me that competition makes us stronger. When we see the amazing talent that's out there, and realize we don't have to beat other people--we just have to try to be the best version of ourselves that we can, then we're all winners.