Isn't it strange how many things authors find they have in common, when they gather in groups? And how well they work together, when the chips are down?
I've seen it before, of course. The most common one seems to be former military and former military dependents (spouses and/or kids specifically). Granted, the US military isn't a small thing, but I'm talking military from all over the world, and the military establishment isn't (percentage-wise) comparable in the general populace as it seems to be in writing communities. Do we write, because we need an outlet? Is there is just a higher percentage of creative personalities drawn to military life? Opposites attract or something like that? I can't say.
But, I can say I've found another common theme in writing circles...autism. I'd met authors with autistic kids before. The first was probably on FictionThatSells Yahoogroup (formerly called ChickLit). It was an interesting aside that so many of us had autistic kids on there. I learned that Sherrilyn Kenyon was heavily invested in autism causes. That was cool, and I made note of it.
Then Alessia Brio and company over at the Coming Together group proposed COMING TOGETHER: AGAINST THE ODDS, to benefit Autism Speaks. Like all the COMING TOGETHER anthologies, the author, artist and editor royalties are donated to the cause in question. They usually also have a name author (like Barry Eisler or LA Banks) doing the foreword (a sign of how much recognition CT has in writing circles).
So, the call went out...and just closed yesterday. Coming Together editions usually pull in between four times and five times the submissions they need. The lowest turn-out recorded--for an CT anthology, where the authors know they will see no royalties for their work--was still more than double the amount needed, and that issue was limited by a strict theme.
When the call went out, I was FLOORED by the number of authors who came out of the woodwork and stated that they had autistic children, spouses...or were autistic themselves, that being the least common I've seen. I've worked with autistic children (and have two personally), and I know it's not an uncommon affliction, but I never realized how many creative types were directly affected by autism. Just goes to show you...it is a small world.
Thankfully for causes like the ones Coming Together aids, another thing creative types have in common (by and large) is the willingness to give selflessly to efforts that benefit the world at large. The opportunities are everywhere, and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the charity efforts I've been a part of. Whether you're judging a children's writing contest like New Voices or offering up donations to be auctioned to benefit Jo Leigh (organized by Alison Kent) or even donating a piece of writing to benefit Coming Together's many charity efforts or SimeCenter's charities, it's a feel-good and relatively painless route to doing something good.
Coming Together Author/New Voices Judge/SimeCenter Contributor