Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cliques in the Writing World.

I had a conversation this week with a writer friend that spurred several thoughts. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to post on this topic, because it’s something I could accidentally express the wrong way, but I find the topic interesting. And I wanted your thoughts.

For the most part, I find this writing community amazing. The endless support and gifts of service I see exchanged are heartwarming and inspiring. I really have seen the best of people in this community. But I also see a lot of cliques—groups of people who only associate with each other based on “status” or where one is on the writing journey.

Which is sad.

It’s natural, of course, for people to connect and for friendships to be forged like anywhere outside of the writing world. I too have my tight circle of friends, but I’ve seen quite a bit of segregation as of late. Agented authors only speaking with agented authors. Big 6 authors snubbing anyone who isn’t pubbed by Big 6. People with book deals cutting people out who are “lower” in status because they’re not pubbed yet, etc. And the ways of snobbery are endless—not responding to comments on fb or twitter, ceasing to reciprocate comments on blog posts when it’s clear they’re doing so elsewhere. And most of all, the obvious change of behavior when someone has success.

It’s interesting.

No, I don’t think every published author needs to respond to his or her fans, but I’m talking friendships within the community. I’ve seen friends change because their “status” has changed. Which is silly. Whether someone has reached a certain point on the writing journey or not does not make someone better than you. It does not mean you are any less than they are. But it can still get inside our heads.

Which in turn creates self-doubt. It creates an environment where we can never be content with ourselves if we let other people have this kind of control over us. Where we might not be happy with one form of publishing because we won’t fit into a certain status or fit in with a group of people we want to be a part of. When in actuality, a different path might be what’s better for our happiness and us.

I think some people have this preconceived idea of what success is—and if it doesn’t fit into the mold, then we aren’t successful. And I think this idea is generated from us putting people on pedestals, from thinking that these cliques living in bubbles of “fame” are where/who we should be.

We can’t let our happiness or our writing journey be affected by others. It’s about the writing. It’s about creating something beautiful. Not what is going on around us.

The people I respect the most in this community (And I wish I could drop names!) are the people who respect the art for what it is. They don’t get caught up in what publisher they're with, or drop the name of their publisher every other sentence, or scream about their work and their fans all day long. The people I respect measure their success by being heartfelt and honest, by taking the time to be real and help other authors, and by focusing on what’s most important.

Just because we’re not associating with our colleagues face to face, I still think it’s incredibly important to think about what we type before we type it, or rethink how we might come across before we post something. I know it’s made me think about how I appear in this community, and I know it’s extremely important to be aware that one person can make a difference—that one person choosing to step outside of their clique and friending someone could make or break someone’s writing career.

Any thoughts? Have you seen this kind of segregation? Does it affect you? Or have you learned to ignore it and focus on what is most important?

Red. Head. Out. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Diversity & Dutch Oven Cooking...

I think it’s so neat how much diversity is right here in our own little blogosphere. Surprisingly, it’s something that I haven’t thought much about. For the most part, we’re a community that really does genuinely care about the success of others, which unifies us even though we’re all so different. Right off the top of my head, I started listing names and genres that show how different we all are:

Carrie-Anne and her 20th century historical fiction sagas…  

Michael Offut and his high-concept speculative fiction…  

If it weren’t for Mark Koopmans, I don’t think I’d ever have read a memoir… 

Michael Di Gesu and his elegant noir writing and magical MG… 

Sabrina Fish’s epic fantasy… 

The elusive Kevin Hiatt—who knows what he writes… 

Tiana Smith and her light, but magical writing that takes me back to my childhood… 

And of course there’s Alex and his epic Space Operas… 

And the list goes on.

But to diversify it up a bit more, I wanted to give a special highlight to a book that was recently published, and is in a genre outside of all the ones above. My dear aunt, Michele Pika Nielson, just had a book come out! Take a look:

It’s a step-by-step book about Dutch Oven Cooking. Fun, huh? I’m SO proud of her. She’s absolutely brilliant and is one of those people who know so much about everything.  I can’t wait to see what’s next for her. But for now, you can get her book at:

You can also follow her on Facebook here

Any genres I’ve missed? What do you write? Going to go check out my amazing aunt Michele

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Random Thoughts Tuesday

First, I want to say thanks for your help with my insecurity (IWSG post) for June. Already, I’m mapping out a new story that I’m waaaay excited about. I didn’t think I could dive into another world so fast, and yet, I’m already there! Funny how we can be insecure about something one minute and then not have it be an issue the next. But I think I owe a lot of it to YOU, so thank you.

Next, I finished reading Donna K. Weaver’s new book, A Change of Plans… and guys… I LOVED it. Like, loved. It was SO good. You can find my review on Goodreads for it here. Please go buy her book and support her. Not only is she a wonderful person, but she knows how to tell an amazing story.

In other random news, I decapitated a rattlesnake in my yard yesterday with a shovel. So that was fun. I’m still running 30 minutes a day even though I’m not a fan of running. (Ballerinas are awkward runners) And I’m embracing summer even though I’m counting down the days till fall. Oh! And I’m also counting down the days for the SCBWI LA conference this August. Anyone going?

Any random thoughts you’d like to share?

Red. Head. Out. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Insecurity For June...

So great to be able to post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group this month. (Thank you, Alex!)

This month, I’m insecure about starting a new project. I’m not ready to leave the world from my last WIP, and I kinda want to stay there for a while. But with it done, it’s time to move on and jump into something new. I do have a fresh idea that I’m excited about, but it takes a conscious effort to get mentally in the right place and create a new world.

Plus, I sort of feel like I’ll be cheating on my other characters. Which is silly, because I’ve written two novels before this last one, but my latest book was special to me, so it’s extra hard to move away from. Have you ever written something that encompasses who you are? A story that’s so you you wonder if you even have something else to offer? (Which I also know is silly, but it’s how I feel).

So it’s hard to move on from that.

But I’m slowly getting there. I’m excited to dive into a new world and see what else I can create. But if any of you have advice with how you *cough Jolene* can flip from one project to the next so quickly, I’d love to hear it. I’m kind of a one project at a time girl—not used to working on many projects at once like some of you brilliant people—so I’d love to know how you’re able to categorize different projects in your brain.

Any thoughts? Do you work on more than one project at once? And have you ever had a hard time leaving a story you’ve written?

Red. Head. Out. 

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