The Author Wars

Several years ago, I read a collection of essays titled The Mommy Wars. It gave a deep perspective about the judgement that stay-at-home moms and working moms dump on each other. And we do. The essays really resonated with me because I’ve been both. Most recently, I’ve been a stay-at-home-previous-professional-turned-author.

The point is that both sides feel they are being judged and therefore judge the other. Even worse is being a young mother judged by people who don’t even have kids–because you know everything about childrearing until you actually have one. My least favorite sentences always began with, “Why you don’t just…” and ended with my imagination ramming a piece of rebar in their eye.

I’ve discovered over the last year and a half, since my first book was released, that authors and those who want to be authors have a similar tug-of-importance-war. I’ve stuck with my writing groups because I never wanted to be one of those authors who became too rich and famous for my britches. It seems like we should all have the same goal of helping each other write great stories and share our success by cross-promoting. We should. What I’ve found more often than not is that most of the people who want to be authors are very insecure and it becomes one of those situations where they’ll pull you under the water if they think it will help keep them from drowning. Because writing is something you don’t have to be hired for–and you can do it in your mother’s basement–the dream of being an author reaches into those shadowy and sometimes smelly depths.

Wanna-be authors judge authors, and authors judge the wanna-be authors. Just like the stay-at-home and working moms. I’ve been on both sides of this now, too. And most of what I’ve seen are a lot of whiny people who feel that success is a finite resource and don’t want you to take too much of it in case there isn’t enough left for them. Ugh. This is a good portion of what I’ve experienced at open writers’ groups. So, yeah. I’m turning into that elitist who only wants to work with a few choice people in the same boat–authors who are trying to make a living at this. Those with enough writing talent and professionalism for this to be a legitimate career option. Not the hobbyists. Not those who only think they can be successful by pulling someone else off the ladder.

Writing takes a lot of time–don’t waste it on stupid shit. Find people who have talent and don’t think of success as a limited resource. We can all have it and share it. You have my permission to be choosy about who you keep in your writing circle. Be that published snob.

And for the rest of you who think I’m too big for my britches? Why don’t you just–

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