Please note that this series is written in fun. If you don’t like hints of sarcasm and hyperbole don’t read this series. If you find the title offensive, don’t read this series. However, if you understand that this is a great time to be a writer of fiction and feel like a lone happy person in a tsunami of fear, read on.

I’ve been told I’ll never be a top blogger because I’m not angry enough. I don’t call writers idiots, or stupid. I don’t say agents are a**holes or editors are morons. Nope, and I’m not going to.  I’m too happy. I don’t have time to deal with other people’s venom.

I don’t care about being popular. If a couple of people can get ideas and a few chuckles from what I’ve written that’s fine with me. I don’t have time for comments (mostly spam anyway) and those who really want to talk to me know how. So what does that have to do with “Writers are Crazy”?

Crazy Lesson #7

Artists create and use their creation as communication; Writers communicate and think it’s creation.

A lot of writers get involved in online catfights and don’t get to work. A number of people want me to talk about the Department of Justice lawsuit, others want me to comment on a top author who said that romance authors deserved to be paid peanuts, some want me to be either for or against traditional publishing, some want me to comment on how Amazon is going to rule the world and destroy publishing—AHHH!

Sorry, but I’m too busy for debates or to try to change opinions. If you don’t like what I have to say, I know you’re not reading this because there’s no place for you to vent. Like my books, my goal is to attract people like me. We’re basically content with life, find humor in our quirks, and do our best.

Sure I’ve read opinionated posts by other authors and I am fascinated (impressed) by how much energy they spend to interact with some of the vile sent their way. And all of these authors—whether I agree with what they say or not—understand the artist’s secret: Create something. A blog post, an article, instructions to follow, insight. No, they won’t get paid for it and it may not help sell their work, but they realize they are still creating.

Unfortunately, most writers don’t understand the distinction. And those are the writers who comment on the blogs, send emails to other authors blasting someone or asking an opinion, complaining on loops or posting on forums. Sure they’re writing, but they’re not creating anything. Yes, they’re communicating, but it’s the same as a person going into a museum and looking at a Mondrian and saying ‘The coloring is all wrong. He should have done it this way…’ So what?

If you really feel that way, then do it!

In the early 60’s when my mother wanted to share her dismay about starvation in the Horn of Africa she created this beautiful painting depicting what was happening. It horrified some, intrigued others, but she got her point across. She used her art to make a point.

In his satirical novel Candide, Voltaire’s hero travels the world and has extraordinary adventures only to return home and see the peace and contentment of a farmer. Candide decides “Let us cultivate our garden.”

I know there are many interpretations of this statement, but my interpretation is this: Instead of ruminating on theories, focus on what you can do.

How to Regain your Sanity

“Work without disputing…it is the only way to render life supportable.” Voltaire, Candide

Use your art (your writing) to make a point that lasts. Fighting, blasting, pettiness has its place, but they are not lasting. Sure we can read the letters of top authors and laugh at some of their pettiness, but what has lasted is their work–when they used their fueled passion to entrance us.

Whether you liked the controversial author Christopher Hitchens or not he got his point across because he wrote his opinions as a coherent whole through articles and books. Some writers forget that. Reacting to what someone else says by sending a ranting comment isn’t making art. Tweeting isn’t making art. Going into the depths of your thoughts and putting them out there through your work—that’s making art and a difference.

Bestselling author, Seth Godin, makes a great point about this in his post titled “What Are You Leaving Behind?”

Do what matters to you. Stop complaining, arguing, fighting, and whining (unless it fuels your art somehow). A debate never changed the world. It’s all about a lot of small actions. That’s where your power lies. Don’t just speak your convictions, live them.  If you hate Amazon then don’t buy from them; don’t publish with them. Stay away from them. It’s that simple. If you hate self publishing, stop. If you love it, don’t stop. If you adore traditional publishing, keep doing it. If it’s withering your soul, quit. If you like both indie publishing and traditional go and have a ball. Do what works. You don’t need a consensus in order to act. Multi-published, award winning author Kristine Kathryn Rusch addresses this issue in You Asked for My Opinion”

Understand the difference between creation and communication. A number of writers confuse typing an email with writing a short story or essay, but it’s not. It’s easy to whittle time away on transient things: Answering email, commenting on blogs, commenting on Facebook posts, tweeting, and the like. But the fact is you’re just part of the noise of someone else’s creation. You’re shining a light on someone else’s work instead of your own. It’s okay to do, but understand that the individual who creates the blog has created a bigger impact than the person who reacts to it. Now if you create a blog in response…that’s a different story.

So cultivate your garden. Tend to it. It’s what makes your soul bloom and makes life truly interesting.

Further Reading

Lines in the Sand by Kristine Kathryn Rusch