Monday, February 4, 2013

Three things I've learned being a judgmental b*tch

I'm armpit deep in a pile of romance novels as a result of volunteering to judge this year's RITAs (the romance novel equivalent of the Academy Awards).

I won't pretend it's a hardship to spend every waking moment reading romance novels. That's pretty close to my description of a perfect job, right behind "adult product tester" and "wine quality assurance manager."

But still, it's time consuming. It's also a good reminder of a few things we writers sometimes forget in our dogged pursuit of agents, book contracts, and joyous reviews from readers who had spontaneous orgasms upon opening our latest masterpiece.

Here are a few things I'm hereby commanding myself to remember:
  1. Amazing books get published every day, some that make me swoon over the quality of prose and storytelling while thinking, "I couldn't ever write like that." That's true, I couldn't. But it's also true no one could ever tell my stories the same way I could. And I couldn't tell your stories the same way you could. The great thing about books is that no two are exactly the same, and thank dawg for that.
  2. Lousy books get published every day. It's true, and as much as we all like to imagine that only quality material rises to the top, that's not always the case. But this fact neither detracts from nor builds my own experience as a writer. Pointing out examples of lousy writing that gets published just makes us look petty and snobbish.
  3. Every published novel I pick up to review for this contest has been rejected or ridiculed by someone at some point. Guaranteed. This business is subjective, and just because one agent, editor, or reader doesn't want what you're writing doesn't mean everyone will feel the same. 
That last point is significant whether you're a writer, an engineer, or a nipple-clamp salesman. Rejection is a fact of life, and there's always something we can take away from the experience. What's your takeaway?

I leave you with this gem I spotted on Facebook this morning. Amen, Mr. Maraboli. Amen.


Mary said...

So, so true. You're a glass-half-full kind of gal, aren't you? Definitely my people. And I love the quote.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

Love it. I just posted, THE FOUR STAGES OF WRITING. There is a humorous part about rejection in there. xoxo

Miss Viola said...

So very true! Loved your blog. ~ Viola

Bybee Assistant said...


Neurotic Workaholic said...

I'm especially glad about the point you made about how good books get published every day. For a while I'd been stuck on the fact that bad books kept getting published, especially by celebrities who didn't actually write their stories. But it is true that there are other books that are published that I am in awe of, and they inspire me to keep reading (and to keep writing).

Matthew MacNish said...

Ah, perspective. said...

The RITA Awards! How exciting! I can't think! I'm truly smiling a big one! Please write about this experience and have fun. Being a judge of this writing contest is such a distinguished position. I am happy for you. Keep us posted!


Geoffrey Cubbage said...

Y'know, I know someone who could probably hook you up with a job in the "adult product tester" line if you really wanted. The work's mostly pro bono, but the benefits are FANTASTIC.

All puns intended, obviously.

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