The universe is at it, again. I think it's trying to send me a message.
I have to first nod to two great posts today that sparked my blog post today. Evidently, I can't seem to come up with anything of my own this week, LOLOL.
At Magical Musings, Michelle asked, How Real Do You Feel? And then Robert Gregory Browne posted about remembering that even though we're still striving, at one time we envied where we are today. Good point to always remember.
While I pondered those posts, I opened my Daily Lit dose of Emily Dickinson in my Inbox, and this was the poem of the day:
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
If I thought two blog posts were the universe sending me a message, the poem confirmed it!
Anyhow, it all got me to thinking. Sometimes we don't respect each other enough in this business. It reminds me of martial arts. We are all beginners at one time, and as you advance you are responsible for helping the 'lower belts' as you were once helped. This doesn't just propagate a helpful and respectful environment; teaching something helps you learn it better.
Beginners are wonderful for their enthusiasm. Their naivete is a blessing, truly. Remember those days when you'd sit in front of the computer, toying with a paragraph, changing a word here and there? Delighting in the different shades of meaning in each word?
That enthusiasm is contagious, and we should allow that enthusiasm to infect ALL of us. We should be grateful for that enthusiasm!
What about writer's block? I, among others, often cry, "Just write already!" But really, how can you learn to overcome and work through writer's block without actually facing it and experiencing it? Maybe instead of yelling "just write" all the time, we should be a little more sympathetic. Who hasn't been there?
And then there's the professional amateur stage, where you're working your ass off, but you're not published yet. Dreams are still alive, but you face a TON of rejection. You're working DAILY in the face of NO ENCOURAGEMENT! No satisfaction of seeing anything you write in print, no satisfaction of a check in the mail. If there's any stage to admire most of all, this is it!
Then there's the kinda published stage. Since I'm in this stage, I have to say that I think this stage is a blast! You're writing regularly, producing, stretching yourself, getting checks, getting reader feedback ... it's awesome! About the only drawback is that you struggle with feeling like a "real" writer and wishing you could find your book in Borders. But sheesh, you'll get there if you keep working! I suppose the good things about us is that we're professional, but not jaded or whining too much, yet! (Except me, LOL ... I whine too much!)
After that comes, I suppose, the midlist stage. These folks have SO much to offer by way of experience and helpfulness. They seem to feel the pressure to get on the bestseller lists and keep their career alive, but boy, do they help out the authors in other stages. We should understand their pressures (and not say 'but you're published!' every time they vent), and be darned thankful at all they do for us! Their generosity is an example!
Finally, comes the bestseller stage. I don't know much about this stage, but I'll give it a shot. They seem to withdraw a little. They're looked up to, but they tend to run into lots of jealousy and pettiness. Even scary-reader stuff. They've paved the way for us. Although they tend not to teach so much, their writing usually teaches us a whole lot, if we care to study!
(Of course, there's the Nora/Grisham stage, but I know NOTHING about that, LOL.)
Sorry for the long rant. I just think we should appreciate each other a little more, at all stages of the game. I hear people look down on the different stages a lot, and I don't think that's kind or just. We were all there, and hopefully, we'll all experience each of the stages.
Respect and helpfulness; you see it all the time in the best of this business. I don't want to live in--or even look at--the other side of this business.
Happy writing! And yes, we're ALL real writers!