(I wrote this blog in response to a letter I got after doing a novel in seven days. This might help clear out some stuff going into the new year about writing at your own pace. No matter what that pace might be.)
The Blog That Destroyed an Art Form
I got a great comment from a guy this morning. I didn’t put it through because the guy called me some pretty good names. *ss*ole was only one of them. One word I had never been called before. Creative.
But he said he had liked my writing. (I think the operative word there is “had.”)
So why was he so angry? And why did I damn near fall out of my chair laughing at this angry post with a bunch of swear words aimed at me? (Not the reaction he was hoping for I am sure.)
Because he said, basically, that with my writing a novel in seven days, I no longer respected the novel form and I had ruined and devalued an art that takes many, many writers years and years of work to create.
I am not kidding.
In his eyes, because I spent 40-some hours writing a novel over a week’s time, I had ruined all novels for all writers.
I had devalued their art.
(Didn’t know I was that powerful, did you?)
So I was still laughing when I went out into the kitchen. I told Kris what had happened and when she stopped laughing as well, she got right to the heart of the problem. She asked two very simple questions.
“I wonder who pointed your blog out to the guy? And I wonder how annoying the guy was getting continuously talking about his two-or-three-year novel?”
Yup, she hit it right on the money.
Someone, more than likely a writer friend, wanted this guy to just finish his damn work-of-art book, so the “friend” sent the poor soul to my blog. The guy read about my finished novel in seven days and hit the roof.
And, of course, I had to be to blame for ruining an entire art form and devaluing all novels in general. (Including his, I’m sure.)
The Myths Combined With Fear
When the myth about rewriting and the myth about writing-slow-to-attain-quality collide with fear, you get a writer constantly working on the same book over and over and over for years and years.
Happens all the time, sadly. And some writers escape, but very few.
Most writers don’t even know they are trapped because isn’t that how their English teacher said they needed to do it?
It was those two myths that started me writing the Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing series. The chapters on both are in the first book and still available for free under the Sacred Cows tab above.
And it is pure fear of doing something wrong that holds the writers in the myths. To escape any myth, a writer must first get some courage. Much easier for me to say than for a writer to do, I admit.
And they must find other ways, study other writers. That is clearly what someone wanted this angry writer to do, more than likely to help him.
This guy was suddenly faced with a writer like me who worked a full day job (excuse gone) and watched television and took naps (excuses gone) and who is 65 years old (excuse gone) and still wrote a 43,000 word novel in seven days in one draft without rewriting.
I can understand the anger. I expect to get more.
But I never, not once, thought the guy would give me enough power to think I have devalued an entire art form. Wow, that’s just head-shakingly funny.
And it shows a frightening lack of knowing the history of writers through time. And how many of the very classics he thinks are perfect were written in a week or two, one draft.
Of course, if he knew that, he wouldn’t be angry at me.
I Will Be Careful With My Power
As Spider-Man says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” (I know, I wrote three or four of those novels.)
So I promise to act responsibly now that I have suddenly found myself with the ability to destroy an entire art form.
— I promise to just keep on telling it like it is in publishing and writing.
— I promise to just keep on showing how it’s done with my own writing.
— I promise to keep on my little donkey and jabbing at the myths of publishing as they pop up their ugly little heads.
— I promise to just keep on doing my own monthly magazine with 70,000 words of my own fiction in it every month. Just turning in Issue #30.
(And whatever you do, if you are that guy’s friend, don’t tell him about my magazine. Can’t imagine what he would say if he learned I was devaluing all of the magazine industry as well.)
So sometimes the myths come pouring at me in the form of a poor, angry person who needs to defend a way of thinking by swearing at me. Normally, I just ignore those poor souls.
But this guy anointed me with a vast power that I just had to report to all of you, just in case you didn’t know.
Until today, I didn’t know I had it either.
What great fun.