Friday, December 09, 2011

I'm Delirious

I happened to get pulled into an online conversation a few days ago about the publishing industry. An individual who has published a few years in the past but felt frustrated about current efforts, wanted to know what writers could do about what she perceived was a broken industry. She said something along the line of the readers are not being properly served because of publishing's shortcomings and inability to publish good works.

I suggested that readers were being served abundantly since more writers than ever were in print, and readers had more good works to read than they could ever enjoy. A writer's foremost responsibility was to write the best he could in order to compete in this market. Writers had more options than ever before.

She said too many books were horrible, publishers were shirking their duties, and I was "delirious." She then asked for feedback from people who were NOT getting published, and I was banned from the conversation.

I moved on, but a blog post began to take form in my head. Not the obvious about accepting responsibility for our own writing (addressed yesterday on this blog), but one about envy. Here was a handful of people upset about not being published, yet they'd adore being published. They wanted to be the other guy, the guy who'd succeeded. But then they become the person they don't like, with the assumption that their work is better.

It's like being mad at somebody with money, then getting the money and saying "but I'm different. I'm not like that other guy. I'll be a better, nicer rich guy."

We all would appreciate winning the lottery. We'd all like to be published. We'd all like to be a bestselling author. In the meantime, however, don't knock the people who find their way sooner than you do. Live and let live, in my opinion. Be the best of who you are, where you are, wherever you are, and you'll have a successful life, regardless if you mke the NY Times Bestseller list.

17 comments:

BECKY said...

I totally agree, Hope! Great post.

Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

She banned you from the conversation because you were saying what she didn't want to hear? Yeah, that's typical of the internet.

That's one of the reasons I don't use forums as much as I used to. One of the only ones I still use is the Kindle Direct Publishing forum, which has some useful tips. Lots of trolls too. Some have hundreds (or in one case thousands) of posts yet never give their real name or link to any books. They like to start fights and slag off other users, even though they don't appear to have published anything themselves.

I just ignore them and get on with my career.

widdershins said...

'Delirious' as Hope, is something we strive for!

Sioux said...

How childish, Hope. I guess they kept you from that kickball game, didn't they!

If we are keeping our eyes on what others are doing, we aren't paying attention to our own craft and our own work. There's always going to be someone better, more published, richer...Be the best writer YOU can be--that's the most we can expect of ourselves.

Linda O'Connell said...

Hope, we should all be as 'delirious' as you. You know your craft, you are diligent, and you are not afraid to speak your mind. Misery-likes-company-bellyachers do not debate, they just release a lot of gas. Fan them away.

catyork said...

People who make you angry make for great blog entries. Good one, Hope. You're on fire today.

Hope Clark said...

Always, Cat. When life throws us a curve ball, turn it into a blog post.

miz "b" said...

What you say here and on the funds for writers letters is so true. (Look at me! I'm writing a comment!) As someone who is just putting toes in this other pond (writing as opposed to painting) I'm trying to be a kinder and more thoughtful person than I was starting out. (Of course, now I have pandas to do my dirty work for me, but they are mostly pretty well behaved). and you know what? It's kind of fun.

Your essays really address the things that I am thinking about as I move into this new phase of my creative life. I don't know where it is going, but I will know when I get there. Life is too short to deal with unpleasant people, so I have decided not to be one. No whining here.
Thanks again.

Janet, said...

I cheer for other people's successes and keep praying and hoping for my success. We will only succeed if we be patient and don't quit...and keep writing.

Kelly Robinson said...

Sounds like the grumpy person just wanted someone to be co-dependent with.

Kathryn Magendie said...

In many ways becoming a "published author" versus a "writer who wants to be published" has made me a bit more kindler and gentler - when I read someone's book now I understand better the blood sweat tears angst excitement joy worry--all the work that went into it-- etc etc etc that goes into this crazy business (but one that I am so glad to be involved in!), and not likely at all to think "oh, I could do better than this - harumph!"

When we steep ourselves in negativity and envy, we only hold ourselves back - and that's what I take from this wonderful post.

TB Botts said...

Hope, the more I read of your work, the more I like you. I wanted to comment on the FFV column you did about leaving comments on blogs and reviews for good books.It was well said and I'll take it to heart. Sometimes we need a little reminder. Thanks so much for all you do.

Hope Clark said...

So happy you guys and gals liked this post. It toughed a nerve with me, and I felt it had a lesson. Sometimes we need to get over ourselves and focus on the real mission at hand. Believe me, most of the time I'm posting, I'm preaching to the choir, too . . . me.

D.G. Hudson said...

I like that last line, Hope, about the choir. (You're saying you walk the talk.)

BTW - I added the link to my post on writer sites to your comments on 'Owning up to your Writing'. To save you time, here it is again:

DG Hudson - Rainforest Writing - 11 Writing Sites for 2011

Thanks for all you do.

widdershins said...

Just received your newsletter. I suppose everyone's told you that grand-daughter and grand-mother have the same chin ... tres adorable

Hope Clark said...

LOL - thanks. She's a force to be reckoned with, that's for sure.

Zakgirl said...

I'm going to write something that all good writing books tell you not to... yeah, it's the "ly" ending word.

"I'm deliriously happy to have read your post and agree with Widdershins it's something all writers should strive for, being delirious if that's what it takes!

Thanks for coming to chat today Hope. I always enjoy when you are guest at TWC... apologies for being late.

Would be nice to catch up with you again next year.

Zak.