The Un-Editorial Notepad #9 – Baby, Don’t Be Cruel

Posted by Rita Lorraine

Hello Aspiring Writers,
Stopping through before I turn in for the night to give you a line from an old Elvis song: [Ahem…clearing my throat] Don’t be cruel…to a heart that’s true!

Yes, I know a writer’s world is often fraught with frustrations: The frustration of not having the time to truly hone your craft; the frustration of sacrificing a steamy personal life (yeah, right) in order to reach your goal; the frustration of multiple rejections; and yes, the frustration of knowing that you may well grow old and wrinkled before your book ever goes to print.

It’s easy to become skeptical and even bitter when you’ve spent years trying to claw your way out of the slush pile only to be let down—again– by industry professionals who refuse to consider your work. Which makes it even easier to be suspicious or even sarcastic when other writers offer tips, suggestions or even links that they think might help you out of that dry, scorpion-filled desert we like to call the writing life.

But here’s my un-editorial hope for you: I hope you won’t become hardened, skeptical–or worse–a “miserable” writer. I hope that when someone offers to help, makes a suggestion, or even passes along some information they think may help, you won’t attack the poor writer.

Case-in-point: A friend recently told me that someone sent him a wonderful link they thought might help writers just venturing into the self-publishing arena. My friend was so excited, he posted the link to a social site, and not 30 minutes later, a bitter soul posted a reply, asking who my friend thought he was fooling. “Anyone can see,” said the bitter writer, “that you’re trying to sell a book and nothing more. No, thank you!”

When my friend showed me that post, I was stunned. There was no book, or anything else, for that matter; only entrepreneurial advice for indie writers. But what really got me was the intensity of the angry writer’s post. It was so toxic I could almost feel the acidic vapor melting the skin off my face…and it wasn’t even directed at me.

My question is, why so bitter? Why couldn’t this disillusioned writer just read the post or surf serenely away? Why attack?

The fact is, some writers– my friend and myself included – just want to help. That’s all. If we share a link or offer an inspirational post, it’s not to suck anyone in or drain money from anyone’s pockets. And it’s most certainly not to start a heated argument on a social network; life is much too short for that.

Sometimes writers share, simply because they want to.

Period. New paragraph.

Best wishes, and…goodnight!

Rita Lorraine

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