Monday, May 25, 2015

Things Can Get out of Hand Quickly

Recently, I witnessed a meltdown on a social site from several authors who were unhappy with their publisher. It began as one author’s opinion about their experience and quickly devolved into mudslinging, name calling, and other unsavoriness. It made me sad to watch. I stopped following the thread and distanced myself from the mess.

I understood where both sides were coming from, and I felt they were entitled to their own opinions. However, it was not OK for them to attack each other and give baseless arguments—that’s when it became ridiculous. But at the same time, I still knew exactly how these authors felt.

Back in the day, when I first got serious about sending my work to publishers and/or trying to find an agent, I felt like the world owed me. I felt like they should be so lucky to have my amazing work. I would get angry and jealous when I saw other authors being picked over me. After all, their work was crap. They didn’t put in the same time and effort I did. They only got the contract because of who they are, not because they’re good writers.

I threw fits. I threatened to give up writing. That would show the world. They would beg me to write again.

And then I got over myself.

I stopped being angry and jealous of people who had more success than me. It was a waste of time and energy. I had no control over them, I couldn’t change anything. Wouldn’t my time be better spent working on my stuff rather than worrying about what they were doing? Absolutely.

As harsh and depressing as it seems, the world doesn’t care if I succeed or fail. It’s going to continue doing what it does whether I’m writing or not—and so are publishers. I’m not the only author out there. The only person I was hurting with quitting writing was myself. Writing is an impulse for me. It’s like an itch at the back of my brain that won’t go away until I put words to paper. It’s annoying. When I don’t write, it drives me crazy. I couldn’t just stop cold turkey.

So I re-evaluated what I wanted out of my career. I thought about what it meant to be a success and what I had to do to attain my goals. I still have my dreams, but I’m much more realistic about my chances of attaining them. And I’m OK with that. I’m happy with where I am.

The publishing road has not been an easy one. It has been littered with frustration and disappointment. It has made me angry. It has made me want to quit writing—for the millionth time. I’ve dealt with some incredibly irritating people. Publishers have made me want to scream.

Life is never what we expect it to be, but we have to make the best of what we have. I decided a bit ago that I wanted to be happy, and that meant focusing on the positive things that have happened in my life. Writing happens to be one of those things. Whenever I feel down about it or upset or irritated with what’s happening with publishers, I focus on where I am. I remind myself of the progress I’ve made over the years. And I remind myself that there’s plenty of time for things to get even better.

I’m an author. My work has been published and is available to the world. Readers can find me and enjoy my stories. That wouldn’t have happened if I had given up and withheld my work from the world.

I’ve wasted my time pointing fingers and saying, “YOU have to do this for me! YOU are the reason I’m failing!” All that did was make me even more angry and frustrated. I really, truly understand what these authors are feeling. And I sympathize with them. But in the end, blaming others for their lack of success will get them nowhere. I’ve experienced that firsthand.

The only person that can hold me back is me. Sure, it’s more convenient and easy to blame other people, but it doesn’t change anything. If I want to be successful, I have to go out and get it. I’m the one who decides where my career goes. I’m stubborn and motivated, so I’m willing to do what it takes to be as successful as I can be.

2 comments:

Jolie du Pre said...

I can't stand authors who diss other authors rather than focus on their own writing and their own business. I'm glad I didn't see the thread.

Precious Monsters

Pembroke Sinclair said...

Sadly, I've seen this happen more than once. As artists we are passionate people, and sometimes we let that rule our better judgement.