Thursday, June 9, 2011
"One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure"
I've spent more time than usual on several social media sites and message boards. It was a much-needed distraction, but, uh, not right now. Not based on what I see happening. Is it just me, or are the internet flame wars flaring out of control? From nasty comments about whether someone is a good writer or not, to threads on the worst books ever published, I had to raise my white flag and beg off for a little peace.
Haven't we as writers figured out the concept of karma yet? I'm not telling people what they can or can't say in a public forum, but for Christ's sake, just use a little common sense before doing it. Think about all that could happen as someone trashes Writer X today. Maybe, that person thinks that despite X’s millions in earnings, he's just a lucky SOB who landed a six figure deal. Maybe, Writer X happens to be the big ticket name in that person’s genre. Just can't figure out how he managed to be the darling of the critics when everyone knows he couldn't write his way out of a paper bag, huh? So, after spewing vitriol all over the internet, what could potentially happen? Hmm. Say Writer X has a Google alert for each time his name appears on the Web and sees those messages. Worse, his fans come across them and escalate a flame war like none ever seen. What about this other writer’s potential readers and fans? What might they think? Some may agree with the opinion, but maybe now, the other writer just looks like a jealous idiot. Like someone whose books they might not want to buy.
I’ve been there before, looking at other writing friends doing really well and wondering, what am I doing wrong? Why can't I pull in those massive numbers like he or she is doing? But before I let jealousy rear its ugly head, I stop and think, “How does worrying about any of what he / she is doing help my writing? Shouldn’t I concentrate on making each of my books better than the previous ones?” Took me a little while to figure out, but I really can’t measure myself by the success of others. I'm only here to applaud those successes and concentrate on shaping my best stories.
Whatever anyone's estimation of another's talent, those writers who've made it to the top of the heap did so for a reason. They have the earning and the fans to prove their worth. Just because someone doesn’t like their writing or thinks they lack talent doesn't make it so. One person's “trash” really can be another’s treasure.
Seems to me, we spend way too much time trying to figure out how other writers are achieving success. How about concentrating on how we can make it to the top too?
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