Cate Gardner inspired another post.
Actually, I’d been thinking about this one for some time.
In my travels around the interweb as a fledgling writer, I’ve stumbled into some nastiness. Snarkiness, some call it. Bad vibes. Writing is a personal endeavor, and all too often emotions muddle reality.
Writers attack writers. Writers attack editors. Editors attack writers.
Let me tackle the last two together:
Most writers follow guidelines. They read what a magazine/anthology is interested in publishing, read how that publication wants to see their work, and follow those guidelines. Um…this is why they are called guidelines, right?
A writer should never attack an editor. I think that would be somewhat akin to being in the middle of the ocean and shooting the only person who knows how to drive the boat. Receive a rejection? Good for you; you're playing the game.
Editors, on the other hand, sometimes have legitimate gripes. Why post guidelines if you want writers to just send their stuff however they please? Most editors are quite professional about airing their frustrations. Read their rants; learn what not to do.
The burden is on the writer to make the editor happy, not the other way around. Don’t like an editor/editorial policy? Don’t submit to that publication.
This brings us to the dirty little topic of writers preying on each other.
A little confession: I’m a human being—a real, live, thinking and feeling person. I try to be as honest as possible, even in the semi-anonymous world of the interweb. Do I want to land a story with Cemetery Dance, Chizine, Fantasy & Science Fiction...etc. Heck yeah.
Do I feel a twinge of envy when someone else lands a sweet acceptance? Of course I do. I’m human, remember? If I didn’t care about publishing my stuff, I wouldn’t work as hard as I do at writing it. And like J.C. Tabler said on Cate’s recent post, there are limited slots out there, folks.
But I have a choice when it comes to dealing with that little tweak of jealousy.
Writing is a personal endeavor, but acceptance/rejection of a particular story is not personal. Someone else’s acceptance, whether it is in a contest, publication, etc., has nothing to do with me, you, or my Uncle Gary. (he's a salesman, but not that good)
For me, that twinge of envy lasts as long as I let it. Here’s a good jealousy killer: send someone a “congrats” when they announce an acceptance. “Whoot” jealousy to death. Crush all the juice out of the little green monster, get back to work, and write.
Some choose the other path…anonymous attacks, snarkiness, stupidity...general bad vibes. I’m always a little bummed when I see how far this can go, whether on a message board, a blog, a forum…there are entire websites dedicated to nastiness.
What I enjoy is the writing…and I want to write as well as I can. At the end of the day, the negative crap just gets in the way.