Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Countdown to RainbowCon: Guest Post with Kathleen Tudor
Today I have a guest post from Kathleen Tudor on Writing as a Professional. Thanks for joining me Kathleen!
Have you ever wished that someone in the spotlight would just step aside and let you have your turn in the sun? A certain author has made waves lately with her declaration that J.K. Rowling should quit writing and give the rest of us a chance, as if the publishing industry is a forest, and we little saplings will die in the shadows unless one of the old growth falls.
Sorry, I am not a tree.
While I can understand that sometimes some people feel jealousy and frustration when they look up at someone who is more successful, I also understand that those are personal feelings, not for sharing except maybe over wine with a few close freinds. If you feel jealous, use it. Turn that frustration into fuel for your own writing. Get an extra couple hundred words out today with the power of your outrage. Pull that book of the bestseller shelf and don't just think 'I can do better', DO it.
Or, you know, smear other authors and degrade their success in a public forum and watch the fireworks.
It's true that not everyone can be a megastar, a CEO, or the president of a country. And yet, we don't say, move over, Bill Gates, let someone else have a turn in your chair. Excuse me, Lady Gaga, but could you step off that stage and let someone else have a chance? Your new record is crowding out emerging voices. If those up-and-coming new stars want their voices to be heard, then they have to earn it a la Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
And, frankly, that's the way I prefer things. I'd rather know that whatever measure of success I have, I have earned. I'd rather know that my stories sell to publishers like HarperCollins and Cleis because they're good, not because I waited patiently for my turn to come up. I don't just want success. Success is actually more of a byproduct of my true ambition: I want to be good. I want to practice, to learn, and to keep growing. I want to be the sort of craftswoman that creates stories people enjoy and want to share.
I want to be a professional, and I want to be seen behaving like a professional.
That's one of the reasons I'm looking forward to this year's inaugural RainbowCon small press conference. I am looking forward to sitting on and attending some great panels, meeting and discussing my craft with other writers and editors, and soaking up both new ideas for my craft and the energy of an enthusiastic crowd.
Not incidentally, one of the panels I will be sitting on is a discussion of Author Etiquette, in which I will suggest, among other things, to respect your fellow writers rather than put them down publicly or demand that they quit writing so you can have a turn. You will lose the support of a lot of other writers, and don't forget that presses will also likely come across your public tantrum when they are considering your work. It will not endear them. (See my other panel: Publishing Dos and Don'ts)
I promise, though, I'm not Ms. Manners. Come see me in "Moving Past the G: LBTQ Fiction" on Friday or just hunt for me in the crowd: I'll be wearing a volunteer lanyard, and I'll be looking forward to meeting all of you, whether you're as famous as J.K. Rowling or just putting down your first serious words and looking for your own room to grow. Remember, you're not a tree. If the path upward seems blocked, move over and keep trying. That professional work ethic will carry you through.
Thanks again for taking part in the Countdown to RainbowCon, Kathleen! You can find out more about Kathleen and her books on her website, Facebook Page and on Twitter.