He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Over the last several months I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend in the writing community. There’s a growing element of dissatisfaction and a holier-than-thou smugness that I find increasingly distasteful. It seems as though everywhere I go, there’s a blog or a tweet or a vitriolic diatribe about how self-pubbing is better than trad pubbing. How agents are Satan incarnate. Publishers are out to screw us. Ebooks are better than paper books. Revolution is coming and it’s great. Change is coming and it sucks. We’re all going to be millionaires. We’re all going to die chewing on our underwear in the gutter. We should push forward and jump off the cliff. We should hold back and see how everything plays out.
We should do this. We should do that. We ought to get on this train. No, we really should get on this other train going in the complete opposite direction. By the way? It’s full of mimes. And they’re out of coffee.
Honestly? It’s confusing as hell.
The thing is…change *isn’t* just coming. It’s happening now. And I get that.
Change is painful and sometimes ugly. And I get that too.
But while I’m all for dissemination of information and giving people choices and ideas, I really hate the “if you don’t agree with me, you’re an idiot” mentality. And there’s more and more of that. Instead of writers uniting as a front, we get into petty squabbles about whose fort is better or who’s flying the biggest flag.
How does one random comment made by an agent/author/publisher/whoever, made on one of these subjects, *really* affect me?
It doesn’t. Or rather, it affects me as much as I allow it to. So many things go into that, though. Is this a truly something taken out of context, for example? Part of a pattern? Someone just talking out their ass? Trolling? Obviously it *can* matter. If an agent says something and I am looking for an agent, I may store that little nugget away and that might influence my decision to query the agent later. If that agent is for or against something I want to explore? Doing something I disagree with? Absolutely it has bearing.
If I’m not looking for an agent? I don’t give two shits.
That’s not to say said comment might not have relevancy in the larger picture somewhere down the line, but I’m tired of being told I should be insulted by it.
But time after time, I see it happening. Someone says something. Someone takes umbrage. It’s held up as an example of “what not to do.” People flock to it, and jump all over themselves trying to shout how much they agree or disagree, taking it upon themselves to get offended on the behalf of others…who may not actually care.
Again – I am very grateful we have so many brilliant people out there who comb the interwebs for this information. Forums, blogs, tweets – social media has become a fabulous way to open discussions on everything and everyone, but I want time to formulate my opinion on things without being browbeaten into it.
And on a personal note, there are several blogs I will no longer read – the information presented there *is* important…but the amount of crowing and chest-beating is a major turn off. I don’t have time for that level of toxicity in my life right now, even if it’s not actually directed at me.
The fact of the matter is that publishing and writing is full of personal choices. Whether you want an agent or don’t. Whether you want to self- publish or not. Everyone’s path is different. Everyone’s definition of success is different.
Life is not “one size fits all” and neither is a writing career. I guess all I’m asking is that people maybe take a step back or two and remember that kindness goes farther than ranting in the long run. Respect that there are reasons as to why I do things the way I do…and I’ll do the same.
At the very least, I might be more inclined to share my coffee with you.
Mimes still suck, though.