NOTE: In light of the events in Charlottesville today, I wanted to say I wrote this blog post weeks ago. I want to make sure that none of the language used in the my writing could be mistaken for today’s events. I will speak to the events here and say I am appalled at the racist hate displayed and in no way condone it. I also am surprised by some of the responses on social media as well. To think such things do not exist shows a lack of paying attention to the space in which our country has assembled. I am not surprised and do not condone such actions but also am not scared or worried because a small number of hateful people decide to rally. The small number of participants should remind us all that there are far more who do not stand with the hateful. Those of us who choose to love our fellow men no matter color, culture, political side, and/or religious beliefs far outnumber the few who embrace hate in their hearts.
As strange as it is and this being my blog, everything stated is my own opinion and based on my experiences, convictions, beliefs, and research into various topics. I know, you read that first sentence and think, “Oh boy, where’s this going?” I try to keep this blog grounded in writing and whatever influences I have in my journey.
However, I have noticed something in recent months that has me somewhat concerned but not apprehensive in my pursuit for traditional publishing. Just some thoughts I’ve been wanting to share.
Twitter is quite the social media tool/outlet to connect with all kinds of people from all kinds of walks of life. I’ve been able to follow, interact, and have discussions with unpublished and published authors, editors, agents, and others in the book industry. This has been a fun experience for me and allows me to ask questions, find resources, and even form acquaintance-like relationships.
In spite of all this, though, I also come up against some things that flash warning signs. Now, I’m approaching this carefully because I don’t want to offend or stir anything. If this blog post leads to anything, I hope its respectful dialogue. I have no interest in debating or converting for any purpose. I want to share some concerns.
If you are unaware (I seriously don’t know how that could be) but there are a lot of dividing lines right now in the US. Politics, religion, and even sports produce some really nasty things “said” about and to people who may not share the same views. Now, I could unfollow those who have these different views from me but I honestly like to read what people are saying so I understand where they’re coming from.
My chief concern though when it comes to the writing industry is will I be ignored or attacked if I don’t share the same views so openly expressed?
I do not get political or even religious on social media. I follow many people who I share different views than and read things every day I do not agree with. However, I have and hold to a position that I cannot manage anyone but myself. It’s not easy but it’s a great discipline to have. Others are very open about their anger and sometimes hate of other people and this makes me wonder if I will be “denied” opportunities if I disagree with those who hold the keys. I think it’s a legitimate concern for me to have but at the same time I trust that my writing and storytelling abilities will supersede any disagreements.
If I could offer any kind of advice (totally up to you if you want to follow it or not; you won’t offend me if you don’t or call me a name), it would be that I think people need to be careful of vitriol espoused on social media. Not because you’ll offend someone but because people like me will wonder, “Can I have any kind of relationship with this person if they find out I don’t share the same views as them?”
The writing community is a unique place in that there’s usually a lot of support and few “rivalries”. When writers announce their successes, I see way more support and congratulations than the opposite. There may be jealousy but that drives a lot of writers to believe they can be the next one to sign that book deal contract.
However, and I’ve seen this a lot in recent weeks, there are writers and agents that are extremely hostile and sometimes plain disgusting with what they say in response to something outside of writing that they are upset over. I get it. There are things that drive me up the wall and boil my blood as well but I don’t think it’s worth my time or effort to say anything on a social platform (part of me doesn’t think anyone cares anyway).
Obviously, I am not saying this sort of behavior should be stopped. Far from it actually. Speak and be heard but I know there are consequences for saying things. For me, I never want to jeopardize future relationships because of a quick response born out of anger or offense. As I stated before, I can only manage myself and I want to always be mindful of how my words affect not only others but myself in the grand scheme of things.
Call to Action: Now I don’t know if my concerns are legitimate or not but I’ll probably share stories once I get deeper into the agent/publishing levels. Until then, sign up for the newsletter! (Yes, you’ll see this push throughout the month.)