Saturday, December 30, 2006

Giving Writers A Bad Name

I would hope that readers of Cobwebs Of The Mind already know that I will never hesitate to call out some stupid comment made by an agent or publisher. Indeed, when I come across some specific comments most of the regular visitors to Cobwebs Of The Mind know that I will not hesitate to offer my opinion.

Message of this post to all writers - STOP WHINING! However, stupid comments, griping and just plain old whining seems to also grab writers or would-be writers from time to time. Yep. I used the bad term here - "would-be". Others use "wannabe". Sometimes the inane and ridiculous seems to spread like a noxious gas over those who are trying to break into the writing field. Simply because any serious writer, any writer who has been published, would never think of the situation below. Simply because we have better things to do with our time than just whine.

Stupidity is often the disease of those who whine.

Cobwebs Of The Mind

I think it becomes a mixture of ego, my old "House effect" theory, and certainly a total frustration at not being able to find a market for that golden manuscript that one has ready to startle the world. No this is not another edition of the Writing & Despair Happy Hour Series, though it certainly belongs there. This is about using less of your ego and a bit more of brains and balance. It is about not whining.

Whiners are particularly nuisance material. They love whining about anything and everything. They need to find a reason why the world is not listening to them. They need to be "heard". When their words of wisdom are not accepted as "unquestioned truth" - they whine.

No wonder agents and publishers are wary of this. No wonder they build walls to protect themselves from direct contact with whiners of the world.

Nothing makes this clearer than a recent thread which went up at Absolute Write, called, We can't publish you. You're the wrong gender. It seems that someone wanting to submit was checking out markets and came across a small magazine that stipulated they would only accept pieces from "female" writers. No males. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip. NO MALES.

Normal people would say, all right. This is part of the submission rules of the magazine and since I am male - let us move on. Their market are readers who want strictly female written pieces. Other publishers only want horror. Others only want mysteries. This publisher only wants female writers. Cool beans. Move on to the next market and magazine and suggest to your Significant Other to take a look at this magazine - targeted to the females of the world. Like Gent and Esquire are targeted to the males of the world. Or Highlights is targeted to children.

Whiners don't move on. Whiners need something to whine about. Agents won't look at them, publishers reject their writing, so they need a place to whine and a topic to whine about. And suddenly, this stipulation is being called bigoted and discriminatory. It is being compared to not hiring Blacks or Jews and being put on the same level as not letting people of a specific race or religion on a public bus.

Run to the courts! Hire the lawyers! Down with discrimination! How dare they say "no males allowed to submit."This is exactly the same thing as saying "No Jews & Blacks allowed on the bus." Of course it is. Same discrimination. Same thing.

Malarkey. Bullshit. Warped thinking. WHINING.

This is a PRIVATE magazine. It has a submission process. It is not discriminating against a "protected" minority. It is simply saying, we are a magazine and our readers only want "female" writers.

Of course it gets nasty in the thread. How could it not? When a "would be" writer turned whiner has a platform, God help us all.

And this is truly what gives writers a bad reputation. We whine. We complain. We will find every and any reason in the world why no one will publish our material. We will get hot under the collar because a magazine has the utter chutzpah to say "Our readers want to read only female written pieces. So no males should submit because we will not publish it." Oh My God! Run for the courts and make them pay in blood!

You need to find a market? Then do what the professionals do. Go to Agent Query. Or purchase the LMP 2007 - Literary Market Place or the Writer's Market 2007.

So remember folks. When you send your piece on Vampires into the New Yorker and they turn you down - never forget to call it bigotry and discrimination. How could they reject you? Then whine. Whine loudly. Find yourself a soapbox and call it bigotry and discrimination. Endear yourself to the professionals of the industry. Show your maturity and balance and understanding of life's great problems. Then as further protection continue to attack markets that have no interest in you or your work, and forgo the distinct possibility that markets that do publish your type of work will simply reject you. Deflect the inevitable. Whine. (Sooner or later someone is bound to buy you a pacifier.)

Never forget where to place the blame for your failures.

So Let Us Repeat This Little Piece Of Advice:

Message of this post to all writers - STOP WHINING!

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Anonymous said...

Hadn't even read that AW thread before tonight. Can't even go where it took me. Glad I wasn't a part of it.

What I don't understand is ... why would a writer want to write for an audience that didn't want to read work that was written from their point of view?

If some readers don't want to read what I write from my heart or my own personal experience, that's fine, I'll find other readers that do. I'm not going to get mad at the former group of readers (or the publishers that supplies them.)

I think it boils down to what motivates a writer. Does the writer have something pertinent to say to an interested audience or do they simply want the money one market can provide?

Georganna Hancock said...

Usually those days of whines and roses come from newbies, I've noticed. I tell them "Real Writers Don't Whine". We're busy doing writerly and editorial deeds like trying to help newbies on forums and message boards. The ones that really stick in my craw, though, are the newbies who expect success to fall in their laps without putting in the time, energy, and expenses to learn the craft/art.

Paula said...

If only all writers were mature enough to see the logic. I am tired of the whining.

If you shop around and find a market unwilling to publish your work due to your gender, move on.
Whining is so unappealing to adults.

I_Shrugged said...

Aww come on. Don't ya know, it's easier to whine than it is to work? And it's so much easier to point the finger at someone else for our failings than it is to look inside for the cause.

shapeshifter said...

Thank you for this post and for articulating the disgust/disbelief I felt when I read that AW thread.

Also, it helped me realize that I tend to whine more than I might like to admit, albeit mostly to myself. This Newbie's going to go write now. Happy New Year.