Friday Musings 10/20/2017

In this business are we alone? Is Twitter and social media a classroom of sorts for the artistically inclined? 

Play along, make nice, be sure to retweet and like, and write, of course. (Or whatever you are pursuing.)

There really aren't any rules to this, and that's why there are so many how-tos about it. 

In this business you come across a lot of flaky notions and ideas pressed upon you from the "powers that be." So much so it starts to feel as though you're in a cut-throat corporate environment. And yes, while it may be cut-throat in competing to get published, or your movie shot, or that scene over the hundreds of other auditioners, you would think people might be there to help, people you look up to. 

I've been blessed to become aware of certain truths in the industry. Sometimes people come out and blatantly blurt what they feel, or explode at you with something so flagrant that even if you don't know what is happening,  you still take pause and recognize that something profound just took place. A great lesson indeed. 

I will not get into specifics, for obvious reasons, but I will write about one that happened a long time ago and you will see exactly what I mean. 

You really have to look out for these experiences, like mining gold...when you find them, it's cathartic. 

I used to frequent a site called iPublish--or something in that manner--a long while back. Probably a play on iPhone and all the Apple names. The site basically let would-be writers submit and be judged by their peers. From what I understood, a book deal would be given out to one or two lucky individuals. 

There were many lessons I learned from this site and the experiences spawned from it. Most had been how some writers would do anything to get ahead. They made fake accounts to shoot down other writers and boost up their own stories. (Hmmmm, like Amazon a bit?) If they got a bad review, they would retaliate with something just as "inflammatory." forget the fact the critique could have helped in any way.  

I'll get to the point. The major lesson I gained from this experience. There was this guy. I believe in his fifties he had told me. He boasted how great of a writer he was and how he'd published articles in magazines yada yada. He'd given me a few harsh words and berated my stories in a pompous manner. So I decided what the heck, I'd go out with a bang! 

I'd reached my final straw with the site at this point. So I asked the guy, with all his great wisdom, if he'd take a look at a novel I'd been working on, if he could give me any advice and such. He agreed. 

I set to work, typing out two full pages from Stephen King's Bag of Bones, then emailed it to him. Just as expected, he ripped these two pages to shreds. He edited so deeply. To his credit, I guess, he did say the story looked promising, or something of that nature. 

So I told him straight out--my blood pressure going down and my breath steadying from the crazy experiences I'd had with this site so far--thank you, that he'd taught me the best lesson I could ever learn in writing. Of course, he said, I was welcome, his ego stoked. But then I pressed on how the story he just sliced and diced had been written by a guy who probably pulls a million as an advance on royalties. (Maybe not, but you know what I mean.) 

Well, as you could imagine, he became livid. The "retired writer" typed with such fury that I could almost hear his keystrokes exploding from wherever he typed. I sat before my Dell desktop somewhere in the Bronx, a laugh building somewhere under my sternum. My smile grew wide as realization dawned. He'd taught me one of the best lessons I would ever learn in my writing career; everyone has an opinion. And, as I exploded laughing, I realized that this moment wouldn't come along very often. I had been very fortunate. 

Just because one rejects you, doesn't mean your story is bad. You keep looking. Obviously if you get enough rejections you have to take a second look at your submissions. But this also relates to other things, as well. People have different views, ideologies and beliefs. You're bound to clash or rub the wrong way with someone along the path. 

Either way, some, maybe most, will abuse their power. And some of those will come out and expose themselves for what they are. When you notice these moments, cherish them--savor them. They may not come too often. 

Hey, look. Go ahead and create something, your brand (your name and/or the name of publication or house) you go about it in an innocent, eye opening way. You do the right thing, help your fellow writer/editor/agent in the industry--hopefully. But make no mistakes, when you zero in on a threat, you must steer clear. It is detrimental to your career and other processes in your creativity. And don't be mean. No one writes like you. They can't steal your style. Most will give up anyway, sooner or later. Just be nice, you never know when the next Dan Brown, or Tomas Harris is talking to you in the very beginning of his career. And looking up to you... 

Imagine, though, not only do you have to compete against others to have your work published, but then you have to watch out for those individuals with their skewed vision of how things should be, possibly attempting to sabotage what you're doing because they're jealous, or greedy. 

You don't have to hate them, just recognize them. Get away from them. Surround yourself with positive energy and people. Get to writing/creating. 

Yeah, those bad experiences sounds like corporate to me. And I get enough of that with the day job... 

WCM

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