Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Remember Where We Came From

I believe it's important for us, as writers, to remember where we came from, no matter where we are on our journey.  Often times it's easy to forget that we struggled to get where we are.  And even when we're struggling to move to the next stage of our career, it can be tempting to hold our experiences and knowledge over the heads of others in a manner that belittles them.

I'll admit that there have been a few instances recently where I looked at my book, where I am in comparison to where I've been, and I thought, "You know, I'm hot stuff!"  But then I look at where I am in comparison to where many published writers are and remember, "Oh yeah, they made that crucial step.  They worked hard, possibly harder than I have, and they moved to the next level."  The great thing about those authors is how well they treat me.  And I always want to be that author of whom all the other authors say, "You know, he's a nice guy."

Whatever they think of my writing, however many books I sell, I never want to be the author that "used to be really nice."

I've met many musicians, a handful of writers, and one or two painters ("artist" type painters who con people out of hundreds of dollars with a canvas covered in a single shade of blue... but that's another topic for another day) who treated me like dirt because I wasn't one of them.  I was still an aspiring musician or writer (never wanted to be an artist), so I wasn't worth their time.  They ignored me unless they were giving me orders.  As if their accomplishments made them better than everyone else.  And they even bragged about how hard or easy their path to success was.  Yes, some of them had it easy.  They knew people who gave them a shortcut into the industry of their choice.  But most of them struggled to make end's meat, even when they had the attitude.

So remember how hard you worked, and DON'T lord it over your fellow writers!  Use that struggle as encouragement for them.  When they come to you and ask, "How did you deal with all of the rejections."  Be honest.  Always.  Even if you only got one rejection before you got your agent or publishing deal, find a way to ENCOURAGE them to push forward.  Don't let them give up, and don't make them feel like failures for not succeeding the same way you did.

And if I EVER become arrogant at any stage in my career, I solemnly give my closest friends (you know who you are) permission to slap me across the face.  At a conference or book panel.


  1. Well said! No matter what step you are in the process of getting published, it is important to remember not only how far you have come but where you have been. I too want others to be able to say, she's a nice person, even if they don't like my writing.

    It's great to meet you. I'm a fellow campaigner and glad I found your site.

  2. I like this post. It's a great reminder. I've met some fabulous writers who treated me well, even though they are ahead of the game. I hope to do the same.

  3. This is a great reminder.

    I have a couple of friends who are very supportive and they always joke for me to "remember the little people" when I make it big (they say "when" and not "if" which makes me blush). I feel like without readers and what we learn from other writers and their experiences, it's kind of hard to make it as a writer. So getting the big head seems shameful.

    Funny though, instead of giving my friends permission to slap me, I'd have to ask that they not slap me too hard :-)

  4. Compassion goes a long way, a fact that many people seem to forget these days. Great reminder, Giles! :)