Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Evening Post

Okay, it's Saturday, and I'm posting.  Probably what I'll talk about today is something of a dichotomy. 


Because, let's face it.  It takes big shiny polished brass to be willing to keep going against everything that everyone will say to discourage you and in light of the actual nuts and bolts work of practicing, practicing, practicing without knowing whether or not you're actually going to succeed.  But you believe in your dream and yourself enough to finish, to put your product your "baby" on the line, whether it is a painting, a song, or a piece of writing.

And (for a lot of people at least---including me) at the same time that you believe, and are proud and stubborn and KEEP polishing that brass there's this part of you that is afraid that it ISN'T brilliant, that maybe you AREN'T as good as you think you are and that maybe you should just give up.

SO, it HURTS people when for no good reason other than:  (1) they seem to enjoy it; (2) the fact that web is anonymous and they CAN bully without facing the consequences; or maybe (3) they're jealous; people rip into your art with razors, being as cruel as they possibly can in their criticism.  They seem to believe that "Well, if you can't take it, you shouldn't put your stuff out there."

And it doesn't stop if you get a level of success either.   It just means that more people see it, so there's more of a chance that that small (really, small) percentage of cruel people will see it and cut loose.

A lot of people deal with it by avoiding reviews and forums, not allowing comments on their blog and the like.  I can't say as I blame them.  Frankly, most professional writers at least (can't speak for other artists) don't have enough time to spare to spend a lot of it hanging out doing those things anyway.

I'm a grown up.  I know that what I create won't please all of the people all of the time.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the top of The New York Times' bestsellers list.  But the fact is, that most writers never get there, and I want to be true to what I want to write and my characters.

But I have to admit that every time I see someone getting slashed on it makes me mad.  And every time I get ready to put something out in the world (or even just in front of an important audience of one, like the agent or an editor) I have to put on my "armor," and pump myself up with the equivalent of a half-time pep talk.

There are very famous authors who finally gave up on publishing their works altogether.  They didn't stop writing, they just stop publishing their work, choosing instead to let the manuscripts pile up in a safe, file cabinet, or desk drawer.  I don't know that I'll ever go that far.  I do want to share my stories and characters with people who appreciate them.  But if the publishing industry decided tomorrow that I was no longer publishable, I would still keep writing.  If the publishing industry disappeared as a whole tomorrow I'd still keep writing. It's what I do. It's who I am.

So I strap on the armor and send to the agent, the editor, wherever.  And I come back to the keyboard at 4:00 or 4:30 in the morning when a part of me would much rather be asleep (shut up body, I've got things to do) and pound out the words, or post to the blog, or do the interview.  Is it dedication? Maschochism?  A little of both?  I don't know.  But it is my life and my art.  And I try to ignore the people who look me straight in the eye and say "Well if YOU can get published . . ." (seriously, they've said it.  LOTS of them.) and the folks who rip into my work, or the work of my friends.

Nobody expects you to like everything you read.  But I have to go with Laurell K. Hamilton on this one.  Vote with your feet, with your pocketbook.  If you don't like what an author writes DON'T BUY THE BOOKS.   But don't be petty, and cruel.  That's just so . . . high school.


BreiaB said...

Some people can't help but behave in that manner. To some the internet is just a souped up version of high school.

BreiaB said...

Plus I really enjoy reading your books. I can't wait to get more from you guys, although I can't buy as much and as often as I'd like. Your books are worth waiting on, so worth it!

Regina Tatem said...

If you cant say something good dont say anything at all.I always try to remember that.Really I do.I for one love your written word and will continue to read.Sometimes I might not be able to buy as soon as Id like,but eventually it will happen.You are also one of the authors I like to have in book form as opposed to ebook.Im sorry some people dont appreciate your work and have been harsh.Obviously they have poor taste in authors if they dont love you!Try to be strong,put your armour on,remember for every one person who is evilly downing you there are untold numbers out there who LOVE your books and cant wait for more!