I’ve actually been kicking around a lot of stuff in my head. So of course in the prime arrogance and ego of my Self, I feel the pretentious need to share it with all of you—like I should be giving anyone advice. I can barely remember to set up my coffee maker before I go to bed but here I am slinging out thoughts like it’s two for one mashed potatoe night at the soup kitchen.
So bear with me.
As some of you know, I separate out the whole writing thing into two functions…two hats really; the Writer and the Author. The Writer is pretty easy going, stewing in his or her own juices and flings words onto a page, hoping for the best. I fret writing. I worry if the story makes sense. I worry if the characters are just cardboard.
The Author however worries about if the book will be received and then commits probably every fucking one of the Seven Sins.
I’m going to talk about a few.
This is probably the most grievous sin an Author commits. I know I do. It kind of goes hand in hand with Wrath but mostly it’s Envy. It’s not that we start off hating other author’s success, it’s just that we wonder why not my book? Especially when the book in question isn’t all that good—in our opinion.
Rationally, the Author knows it’s an apples and kiwi comparison but still, it infuriates the mind. Have I been guilty of this sin? Hell yes. And the thing is, the more you write and isolate yourself in the stew of this Envy, it kind of begins to take you over.
It’s one thing to fret and grouse about another book but quite another thing to start sifting through other authors’ ratings to cackle about them or track how their book is doing on whatever chart you want to follow be it Amazon, Goodreads or the Daily Sheep Plucker.
If you catch yourself doing this, go back to being a Writer for a bit. I’m not saying don’t mutter to your close friends because being sinful is healthy *grins* but ah, don’t air this sin out in public. Remember the difference between public and private face.
Yes, be proud of your work but then at the same time, acknowledge the Writer next to you has just as much right to be wearing that “writer” vest as any of us. Unlike Castle, our Writer vests aren’t bullet proof. Don’t turn your pride into a weapon. We are only as good as our next book. Writing is a cruel thing. It is. What we think is an incredible idea might turn out to be the worst book received by the audience… ever.
I’m not saying don’t try. Explore doing new things. Expand your boundaries. But at the same time, leave room for someone else to have a happy. Don’t take away from someone else’s happy. Dance with them. Celebrate. Because we’re kind of all in this together.
Basically, when you dance, don’t step on anyone’s toes… not on purpose.
You all know you do this. I do this. Look, something sparkling and pretty! I don’t want to write. Set the time if you need to. Do at least an hour. Get in the habit. Not a nun’s habit… actually no, I take that back. If wearing a nun’s habit helps you write, rock the fuck out of that penguin suit.
This one really goes out to orgies with Envy. It really does. This Sin makes the author do stupid things like rage at one-star reviews or attack a reviewer in a public forum. This is also the Sin that rears its ugly head to drive the Author insane because it actually turns Envy into a destructive weapon. Wrath is pretty much Envy’s power up.
Nothing good ever comes of it. Sure, it might satisfy some anger-masturbatory need inside of you but like all things, Wrath can become an addiction and pretty soon, you’re pissing in everyone’s mouth and jerking off on any person who might have said something mildly off in your general direction.
NOTHING good every comes of this. Nothing good for your soul. It just makes you a puissant bully and really, stains who you are. You’re better than this. It’s hard sometimes. I get it. I wanna fork a bitch with the rest of you but put the utensil down. And walk away.
Don’t Be A Dick
None of this is to say you can’t grouse with your friends but like all things, moderation. As human beings, we get caught up into patterns of behavior, especially if it gives us some kind of opiate response. Pretty soon bad behaviour becomes your personality and really, no one wants to be an asshole.
Well, okay some people like being one but they’re kind of the poster child of fuckery.
Do your best. Be your best. Either as an Author or a Writer. You’ll be okay. Don’t get discouraged.
The effort is as much if not more important than the result. Don’t forget to be the Writer you want to be. Don’t pick up stones to carry to weigh yourself down. Write and then, when you put on the Author mask, be gracious. Even when your fingers want to curl around a fork.
I need to work on it too. I do.