I have been thinking about this matter for a while now, so I am quite surprised it has taken me this long to blog about it. It was only after reading one of Bob Mayer's latest posts last week: http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/nanowrimo-the-common-traits-of-the-successful-writer/ that I started to give it some serious thought again.
During the past year, I have seen some poor quality arguments and some brilliant ones around the subject of being traditionally published or deciding to go the indie route. Some writers with very strong opinions argue for whichever one they believe in, while dismissing every positive point on the opposing side. I've seen the argument go both ways with traditional published authors making a fool out of themselves along with some unprofessional indies.
Now, I have started to see the same sort of arguments between writers on their opinion of what makes you a 'real' writer. Some suggest that if you don't write two thousand words a day, you are just an amateur. Other like minded individuals suggest if you don't write everyday then you're not a real writer, and so the list goes on.
I've often assumed writers to be fairly open minded individuals. After all, they have to consider things from different angles when working out their plots - it is part of our job to view things from another point. Otherwise we're going to have terrible problems when we can't get our head round a certain storyline, and the only other option we have is to come at it from a different way. Now, after seeing all these petty arguments, my opinion of some writers is definitely changing. It baffles me to think that there are certain individuals out there who would rather die than be open to another opinion, even if they know their method of doing things isn't working. Why are these people so stuck in their ruts and so afraid of change? I like to think of myself as a very opened minded individual. Yes, I have my own way of doing things, for sure, who doesn't? But I am ALWAYS open to new ideas and suggestions when things don't work out. Trying new things and making the most of opportunities is what makes us grow as human beings, and we should never criticise others for doing things differently. We should always remember what works for us won' t always work for someone else.
In my opinion, you're a real writer if you write books (any kind of book,) get them professionally edited, have a professional cover made, stick them through a publisher (self published or otherwise) and charge money for them. It can take you ten years to do this or it can take six months. You can write ten thousand words a day or just a hundred - it doesn't matter. So long as you write books and be professional about it in every single way, you're a real writer. But that's just in my opinion, others will disagree. That's fine. What I don't do is go out of my way to make everyone who does disagree with me look like a fool because that's just not nice. If they really are a fool, other people will see that too and think the same. Foolish people don't need any help from others to look foolish, they do that job quite nicely on their own.
Sometimes, people have a knack of being nasty and unkind for no other reason other than to make themselves feel better or look good. Simon Smith Wilson blogged about the tragic death of Gary Speed, and how it's cruel some people feel the need to make spiteful comments about it: http://hermitmaster.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/gary-speed-suicide-calling-people-cowards/
And now for my final point: Just remember if you're a writer who slags off other writers, you may have just lost yourself potential readers.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Please share.