Monday, November 07, 2011

Live and Let Live

First of all, Steve Spohn was the selected winner of the Writer's Digest Magazine subscription. Thanks for all the great writing resources posted on last Thursday's post!

Live and let live. Lately those words have fallen out of my mouth more than I'd like to hear. We've become a nation and a world of adversarial opinions, and it does more harm than good, in my measly little humble opinion. For some reason we think we have to present our side to the world as if it was the only viewpoint that matters, and as writers, we need to stop and think about that.

We often write with a slant. After all, we query editors with ideas intended to match the readership of a publication. Left wing, right wing, Protestant, Catholic, wild game eaters, vegans, home-schooling, public school - we are supposed to be able to move with the subject, telling the story that needs telling. Or more so, telling the story that an editor wants to buy. We are spin masters!

However, when it comes to our profession, we tend to don blinders, dig in heels, and tout missives about "the best way" to do many tasks. For people being so open minded when writing articles and posts, we sure can be stubborn when it comes to topics like:

-libraries loaning e-books
-Amazon's payment policy
-selective agents and subsequent rejections
-Big Six publishers versus small presses
-level of social media participation
-and so on

As someone once against self-publishing, I've learned to accept its place in the industry. I'll use whatever comma rule an editor wants me to use. I've chosen a small press for my fiction, but do not profess it's the best and only decision that makes sense. I blog, but don't expect every writer to own a five-post-per-week blog.

As the member of several listservs, where writers list their stands on many subjects in the industry, I easily tire of those touting one road to anything. I'm not far from removing my name off most of them. As fallible, less-than-perfect human beings, how dare we profess one method to our madness? As creative creatures, we are diverse by nature, a freedom we should embrace.

Live and let live. Each author can pick a route and make it work for him in terms of writing, promotion, agents, and publishing. And we need to accept the choices of that author. We don't have to buy his book or comment on his blog, but we don't have to bash his chosen direction.

Because we have a voice . . . because we have the Internet . . . doesn't mean we have to use either like a megaphone, flaunting our decisions and belittling others. To each his own - live and let live. As the clamor settles down, you might learn another way to be better at what you do.


Linda O'Connell said...

You should make a poster of that last paragraph. It is without a doubt the best writing quote which applies ot all other areas of life.

Ruth said...

Well, said. I believe voices are clamoring on the internet because it's easy to do, we bear no responsibility for our actions, and the consequences seem minimal.

Hope Clark said...

Thanks, y'all. It just came to mind after someone fussed at me for posing in my newsletter picture with my latest batch of deer jerky. She was vegetarian and didn't like the fact someone "killed Bambi." Live and let live applies to everything in our lives, though. It would be a remarkably sweeter world if we practiced it. It's just another way to say the Golden Rule, IMO.

Teddy said...

Thank you Hope. We spend way to much of our lives being judgemental about everything. If we could learn to celebrate our differences, open our hearts and really listen, this would be a much kinder, gentler world. Namaste', Teddy

Live, Laugh, Love- Always! said...

Hope, you have just posted about something so dear to my heart... I come from a family of 5 extremely, stubborn and individual children, borne to a mother who is without a doubt the most stubborn, emphatic, and passionate person I will probably ever encounter.
Family parties are like a courtroom... we have defenders, prosecutors, a jury, and judge, many times even a peanut gallery of an audience. What with significant others and spouses who largely became part of our family because they could contribute to the madness of our mouths, it can be a free for all. However, we do have our pacifists, the child that sits idly by while we all scream at each other and as we laughingly hug goodbye, sometimes with tears in our eyes and a catch in our throats because it was our day to be on trial, we know we're always there for each other!
Most of all at the end of every event, fraught with arguing and combats we know all too soon it will be time for another get together. Lastly, we all love each other and accept each other in spite of our passionate, dogmatic and often differing opinions.
Thank you for your post today, while I enjoy hearing all sides of every coin, I like to say we are all just people, we all know how to love!

Unknown said...

Great post Hope, I have removed myself from several lists because overall it was a waste of time. As you say, too may opinions, and for me not enough solid information that I joined the list for. As for blogs, yours is one of the best I have read. Thanks, keep it up. - Mary Ellen

Karen Lange said...

Well said! Reminds me of how some I know "agree to disagree".

It's funny how so many promote tolerance for every issue, yet in reality are extremely intolerant.

D.G. Hudson said...

Tolerance is a virtue for a reason. It's hard to practice tolerance without a sense of empathy.

One's beliefs are personal and shouldn't be forced on others; we each choose to live life our own way.

When I saw the photo of the deer jerky, I was intrigued, since my hubby's relatives are Native Canadians and they make salmon jerky by drying the pieces on wooden racks over a smoking fire.

Keep sharing those bits of your life, it keeps me coming back.


Don't you think that much of this wisdom comes with age? I can't speak for all but when I was younger I really felt strongly about certain subjects and used my soap box and megaphone accordingly. As I've gotten older my edges aren't nearly so sharp. I am better not only at accepting differing opinions but actually welcoming them. They don't threaten me anymore. I don't always have to be right. I can agree to disagree. There is a lot of freedom in this.

Hope Clark said...

DG - thanks for the support. Yep, I intend to stay who I am. And yes, Grace, I think tolerance is part maturity. I'm not as threatened anymore either. Excellent point.