There's a lot of shit-flinging in my articles. I like teasing other authors and poking fun at myself. I try to provide other perspectives, the kind that I don't see anybody else providing, and avoid the platitudes. Nobody needs to hear another cliché, right? Sometimes, it's as exhausting to avoid conventional phrasing as it is to repeat the same tired idioms. It's easy to get all tangled up in the politics of writing and the differences in business practices. My favorite lyric of all time is, “It's so easy to laugh. It's so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind.” Even in the cut-throat book game, I think it's important to set aside our differences and remember why we're all here.
We're here, because, for whatever reason, we love books. We love reading and writing, whether we prefer the smell of a new hardback or the convenience of an e-reader. We want to see great books get published. We to see books connect with audiences in ways that people never thought would be possible. Reading/writing isn't exactly a social activity, even if you are a part of whatever literary community or book club you participate in. It's a generalization, but I think there's some pocket within every writer's heart that is, well, just alone. I'm not going to talk the craft up in the way I can seldom stand or pretend that we have any emotional acuteness or depth nobody else can fathom. I truly don't believe book people feel anything that nobody else has felt. We're oddballs but we aren't a different species.
What does separate us is that we took those feelings and made something of them. We set out to write the book we've always wanted to read. We filmed the movies of our dreams so that others could see them. We've faced the critics, some of us were even able to befriend them. (Seriously, book critics are some of the coolest people I've ever met, petty jabs aside.) Even the worst books require effort. It's a massive undertaking in many ways. It takes a lot of patience with oneself to take a formless lump of clay and try to shape it into the image we imagine it to be. The blank page is a mirror that we fill with our own self-image. No matter what we write, we're relaying the human experience. One needs to fish within oneself to find that emotional resonance. It takes a lot of personal awareness and a lot of honesty in order to do properly. It can be painful. Sometimes, confronting yourself or even your own idea of self can be painful. I'm stinging from it right now. We all relate to Luke Skywalker because (to some diminished degree) we've felt or can imagine the emotions he feels throughout the movies, not because we have experienced the same circumstances. That isn't an easy thing to do. I'm not saying we all pull it off. Shit, I doubt that I ever have. My point is that to take our abstract thoughts bring them into the world in a way that another person to appreciate is no small feat, no matter what it is you're writing.
Or, maybe nobody will like your story. That's a possibility. You could spend years on a project and it could totally flop. It's happened to me more than a few times. What's it matter? Do you write for praise? Did you program your laptop to make a cha-ching sound every time you hit the enter button? You're not guaranteed any pats on the back in life, no matter what you do. What you do is you keep on doing what you're doing to the best of your abilities, if that's what you want to do. That's the only thing that matters. You're making it happen. You're living your dreams, even if reality is a little more HD than you imagined it to be and you can see all your own scars and unpretty details. All that matters is that you're up there, onstage, and you owe it not only to yourself but the audience to give your best performance. Regardless if you're Montague or Capulet, we're all up here together.