This week the awesomely awesome author S.M. Carrière wrote a blog called Can we not? The essence of the piece was how much some writers feel they need to dictate to other writers about how they should and should not be. In my comment I wrote:
I think I’m overloaded with writers on [social media] telling us what to do. I’m not so great at taking orders (Irish, you know). One of the worst for me is the: YOU HAVE TO WRITE EVERY DAY! EVERY SINGLE DAY. IF YOU DON’T, YOU’LL BE A LOSER WITH NO FRIENDS, YOUR LOVED ONES WILL FORGET YOUR BIRTHDAY, YOUR HAIR WILL FALL OUT AND GROW BACK AS WORMS, AND ALL THE NEW-BORN PUPPIES ON THE EARTH WILL DIIIIIIIEEE!
I have a hard time expressing myself.
An occupational hazard of being an author is you tend to follow other authors on social media, then the ALGORITHMS OF DESTINY find out your interests, and you’re pummeled with articles and adverts. One that gets to me is the “Write and publish a book in a weekend!” course. (Yeah. No. Go away, mkay?)
When adverts find me, I can meh them off most of the time. My problem is more with writers bullying writers about how to do . . . pretty much everything. This is not the same as sharing tips or experiences that someone thinks might help. This is more like: There is only one way to become an author. Or even worse: you’re not a real writer if . . .”
Not coolbeans, peeps. Some writers never write books; they write blogs and they’re good at it. Some writers become self-published authors. Their books seem real to me; they have words and everything. Some writers can push out two books a year. Some take a decade to write one. Still all legit in my eyes. Some writers are super structured with outlines. Others open a laptop and go, “Wheee, I have no idea where I’m going and I love it!” (I might resemble that last person.)
Some writers are able-bodied. Some have disabilities that impair cognitive function. Some can blaze on the keyboard with ease. Others have too much pain to type or even sit up to use their dictation software. If you command that all writers must write every single day, can you see how this might be an ableist thing? Maybe let’s not assume everyone’s life is exactly the same.
So, let’s think twice before telling another writer what to do, or making them feel like they can’t sit with you. (But on Wednesdays, you still better wear pink.) Seriously, though. Be kind. You can go very far in life by being encouraging.
And if people have quirks that drive you bonkers, take advantage of filters and mute functions. You’re not tied down like the guy in A Clockwork Orange. Chill, doods.
I see this post is also telling you how to be. Oh well. It’s hard to avoid that. I hope you interpret my message as a Be Excellent to Each Other sort of thing. That was my intention.
Write as much you wish, when you wish. I won’t judge.
Cait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ‘Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance Press). She’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.