Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm not THAT writer.

In my career, I've met many a writer. Some local, some online. And some, well, I wish I hadn't met. It's no wonder that people really don't know how to relate to us... hell, sometimes, we don't really know how to relate to each other.

I'd like to think of myself as a somewhat laid back writer. If someone doesn't like my book, as long as they aren't nasty about it and don't equate me with my writing, that's okay. What I do and who I am are separate. Some people might argue that point but this is the way I see it. For example, I can like someone without liking their art. Take Justin Beiber -- that kid's music isn't my thing. I haven't heard a song by him yet that wasn't generic bubble gum music. But I think the kid is smart and funny. I've watched him several times on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and think he's a swell (< that's me going retro) kid.

So if you don't like my book, that's okay. I'm not THAT writer. I'm not going to enter into a long debate with you over what you did or didn't like and I don't expect you to explain yourself. And even if you do tell me what you didn't like about it, as long as you are doing it in a constructive manner, that's okay, too. I'm not THAT writer who thinks they are smarter than everyone else and above criticism.

That reminds me of a response from a Hadley Rille editor. She'd emailed me what was wrong with one of my novels. I wrote her back and thanked her for her criticism and she responded with, "Whew!" because she is never certain how a writer is going to respond to her criticism. Some writers take such things personally and then they start spewing venom. I'm not THAT writer, either.

It kills me when I see writers being overly-confident. They shout from the roof tops how fantastic they are and nine times out of ten, they are not near as good as they think they are. I saw a saying once that if you meet a confident writer, run. I'm not THAT writer. Most of the time, I'm scared as hell. I can't imagine that there will ever be a time in my career when I won't be some form of scared.

It baffles me when writers are intimidated and/or feel like they are in competition with other writers. They can't grasp the concept that writers can be helpful and supportive to one another. It's often like a contest of who knows more, who can act more superior, who can be the most stuck up. I'm not THAT writer.  I love writer friends.  I love fellow book nerds.

The whole point of this post, I suppose, is to ask that other writers take a step back from themselves every now and again.

Don't be THAT writer.

Peace, love, and relax,


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