Everybody has an opinion. I think it’s true no matter the topic—politics, religion, lifestyle, stories—that most people will proclaim their opinion as if it is the only one. I realized this weekend that part of my frustration with the writing community is this reality. I read two blogs last week that really drove home to me what I would love to see more of. The first was by Nathan Bransford. I have spent years having it being pounded into me that I have to write everyday on a schedule—no matter how big the struggle—in order to be a “true” and “dedicated” writer. So, when he posted that this is false, he immediately had my attention. His basic point is that all writers are different. We need to write on a schedule, yes, but our schedules don’t have to be formatted the same way. Maybe writing a big chunk on the weekend suits you better. The second blog that struck me was on The Newbies Guide to Publishingcalled “Identity and the Writer.” This one was more about the different types of publishing options and a writer deciding who they want to be, but it caused me to think of the whole “who is truly an author” debate. What I love about both of these articles is that they present a side without stating it is the only side.
I think the problem with the writing community right now is not just that everyone has conflicting opinions, but that those opinions are proclaimed as the law of the land. Just because it worked for so-in-so, it is declared the only way for any to make it. So, when someone new comes onto the field, they start following said advice and wonder why it’s not working. But, the more I’m in the field, the more I realize how often someone new, who hasn’t done much research and doesn’t’ have the experience, will stand amongst the crowd and proclaim their own opinion without it ever being tested. This angers me. Don’t pretend to be something bigger just for the sake of selling books. That’s kind of like setting others up to fail so they can get ahead. Or, even worse, it’s pumping oneself up as an authority figure for ego purposes.
In a perfect writing world, we would be tolerant of writing and publishing methods. We would accept that right now the market is wide open. There are practically no rules for how to be successful. There is a lot of brilliant and trashy stories in all areas. The key is to identify what the individual writer wants and go for it. We are all different. We all write different and want different things. Let’s be honest. This works for me, but maybe not for you. This is one option, maybe something else would work. I never tried this, but it worked here. Let’s actually help each other instead of boost our own ego and authority. Just a little pet peeve brought up this weekend, but sometimes the writing world is not all roses.