Thursday, June 9, 2011

"One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure"

Warning: rant ahead. I haven't had one of these in a little while, so you'll have to forgive me. Or not.

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?


Anita Davison said...

Very eloquent, Lisa. And so true - so stop reading the detractors and get to work! Cos I know you can do it.

Christine Murray said...

What I think is strange about the writing community is that it's so disparate. On the one side you have lovely people who will help other aspiring authors to succeed anyway they can. Then there is this part that begrudge others success.

I think it all comes from insecurity, to be honest. It's easier to destroy something than to build it from scratch.

Consuelo Saah Baehr said...

Hi Lisa, I just started following your blog and I really like your writing, your passion and the variety of ideas in your posts. I get many hits from your blogsite so I decided I better come over here and look around.

Here's my RX for inability to write a certain passage. I get into a meditative state, visualize the physical book in my hand, turn to the chapter that is making me stumble and see it as already printed. If possible I try to see the first sentence. Usually, if I get the first sentence right, the rest of the chapter gushes out. I concentrate on getting that first sentence right and the rest follows. If this sounds simplistic and childish that's because I am simplistic and childish.
BTW, I am most proud of my historical saga.

Ann Simon said...

Every writer puts his or her heart on the page. Anyone with the never, deserves 4 stars. Period.

paulalofting said...

Hi Lisa
Like Consuelo, I got a couple of hits o my blog from yours so i thought i'd come and have a looksee. I like what you had to say on this post and it has given me some food for thought most certainly!

Lisa Yarde said...

Ladies, thank you all for your thoughtful comments on this post. I really think we do ourselves a disservice to PUBLICLY bash other writers. IF I feel the need to say something negative about another author, I reserve those comments for Skype chats and telephone calls.

@Anita - yeah, yeah, yeah! Hey you, don't you have a new book out that needs some promotion? Snap to it!

@Christine - I really do agree with you about the two camps and where the second camp comes in with their own insecurities. It's human to feel some jealousy, but no should ever make themselves look like an idiot because of it.

@Consuelo - thanks for following. I know much you put into your work, based on the samples I've read of Daughters alone. If your writing flows as well as it does by your method, please, don't mess with a very good technique.

@Ann - seems it's easy to forget how much people put into their work. For most of us, it sn't a matter of ego or think we're God's gift to writing. We just write from our hearts.

@Paula - thanks for stopping by too. I do try to keep these rants to a minimum, but sometimes I just can't help myself! lol. Happy that it gave some food for thought.

S.L. Stevens said...

If there's a writer I really, really dislike, I usually refrain from talking about it online. If I have a beef with their writing, I mention it privately to friends and recommend they not read that author's books. And I explain why. But on the internet, where nothing truly disappears, if you as an author badmouth a fellow writer, you might as well be saying, "Hey, I'm a childish jerk, come trash me back!"

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