Tag Archives: professionalism

A Sharp Stick and a Writing Tip

Youngest had it out at the park the other day–according to the mom on my porch and her ice-packed daughter.  Trust me, it’s a front door visit no mom ever wants to get.

Dude, says Upset Mom, your kid punched mine in the face and poked her with a stick.

Now, Youngest can be a scrapper and he–admittedly–has a bit of a temper.  Yet, I’ve never known him to punch another kid in the face (even his brother).  Or poke someone with a stick, for that matter.

His style is more…well, let’s just say he’d throw the stick at you, then tackle you and shove your face in the dirt.  Again, not a proud mom moment, but there ya go.  I know my kids–their perfections and imperfections.

And while I don’t doubt for a second he took part in this playground scuffle, I do question how it all went down.  Especially when he wailed, “But she started it,” as I marched him down the hall and to the door to apologize.

While Upset Mom continued to “just wanted to let you know what [name redacted to protect the not-so-innocent] had done,” the two tusslers made see-ya-at-school-tomorrow faces at each other.

Writing Tip 2011: Do not poke your friends with sticks or punch them in the head.  Because tomorrow, you just might want to play with them again.

Seriously.  I’ve seen authors shred reviewers even as they beg to be reviewed.  I’ve seen the idea of agents bashed by the very people trying to garner notice and representation.  I’ve seen bitter writers decry traditional publishing companies even as they ask, “If my self-pubbed book sells well enough, will I get a publishing deal?”

Here’s the cliché: don’t bite the hand that feeds you.  Or at least not the one you want to be fed by.

You don’t have to slide with them or swing with them.  You don’t even have to talk to them.  Certainly, don’t punch them in the face or poke them with a stick.  All you have to do is walk away until you may want to play with them again.

PRESSING QUESTIONS THAT INCITE LOTS OF CONTENTION

  • Do writers really need agents?
  • What does an agent do that you can’t do for yourself?
  • Can you sub directly to editors?  What are the pros and cons to each of these options?
  • To self-pub or continue querying?  That is the question.

Writers, research your options.  Weigh the pros and cons.  Make the decision that is right for you.  Share  your knowledge in a respectful manner with others who may or may not make the same choice you did.  But never, ever attack others.  Especially if you just might want to be fed by them in the future.

So, what about you?  Are you a professional writer or a playground scrapper?  How do you respect an industry that seems to quash the dreams of aspiring writers with great regularity?  Do you find yourself growing bitter and disillusioned?  Is the competitiveness of the industry and the rapidly changing landscape a challenge you still want to tackle?  If so, how do you go about it?

Curious minds want to know.

Mob Mentality

It’s been a crazy day.  A simple link leading to a knock-down, drag-out war popped up everywhere I turned today.

A self-pubbed author received a mildly bad review and majorly blew it out of proportion.  It was simultaneously hideous and humorous.  Yet after seeing the same fight replayed over and over again got to be wearing. 

Even more troubling were the reactions of the readers and commentors to the numerous blog posts, tweets and forum threads.  In no time at all, people hopped on the attack wagon themselves. 

Exhausting to say the least.

Then a writer friend of mine PMed me about the psychology of critiques in a thread.  And I paraphrase: Doesn’t it seem like the tone of the first comment sets the outcome for all comments that follow?

Absolutely.  100%.  Without a doubt.

Yes, yes and yes.  People feel empowered when they have the seeming support of others.  We forget to think for ourselves and let the ideas and opinions of others influence how we react.  Especially if we were wishy-washy to begin with.

People used to get hanged by mobs.  Innocent people had nooses slipped around their necks and the rumps of horses slapped out from under them simply because the mob mentality is so strong.  Going against the grain of popular opinion can almost be a death sentence in and of itself.  So bystanders either shut their mouths and allow atrocities to occur around them, or they jump on the back of the mob and shout their support regardless of how right or wrong a situation is.

We see this in schools, at parks, during rallies and on the internet.  Everywhere a group of people meets and intermingles, the potential for us to lose our independence and fall in favor of the mob is there.

Have you ever been a part of mobbing?  Wrote about it?  Read it?  What is an effective way to curb this behavior, if any?  If not, how can we protect ourselves from getting sucked into this very explosive game?

What does this mentality mean to you as a writer and the way you handle yourself in the public view?