Writing Without Pretention

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

When I first started writing I was in high school. I wrote passionately, madly, and got lost in the worlds I created. I wrote volumes of (admittedly terrible) fiction of so many flavors I could’ve opened an ice cream shop to sell them all. And I did it without thinking too hard about it. I didn’t care if it was “genre fiction” or “literary”. I didn’t care if I used too many adverbs, too few adjectives, or the wrong punctuation. I just wrote. Words poured out of me with such reckless abandon that I scarcely could contain them all. And, best of all, I didn’t care what anyone else thought of my words. They were mine. Anyone else’s opinions were secondary.

Since then I’ve become more refined. I write with more polish and cohesion, but no less passion. I started to care what other people think about my words since at this point I am trying to use them to make a life for myself. But despite the fact that I have encountered a great deal of snobbery surrounding my preference for “lowly” genre fiction I persist in writing it with great joy.

It’s that lit snobbery that I want to address in this blog.

I’ve been interacting with a lot of writers, editors, and publishers lately and having long, meaningful conversations with them about the craft. Most of them have been fantastic, and I have learned a lot from speaking with these individuals. However, it’s swiftly become apparent to me that there are so many people out there that look down on one another for not being “in the know”. Whatever “in the know” means. It could be that YA writers are “immature”. It could be that anything but high literature is “rubbish”. It could be that erotica is just for “sluts”. It doesn’t really matter what the particular genre or facet of writing is someone has to turn their nose up at it and insult those that write in that style.

I’m here to say that behaving that way only reflects badly on the people talking like that. Everyone has their opinions – and rightfully so – but treating authors or other artists differently because they don’t measure up to your lofty ideals of success is not the way to go about making friends. In fact, I’ve discovered that is more of a life lesson than merely one in writing. Why does one have to be “better” than another? We all agree that some authors are better than other due to their command of the elements of our craft. That goes without saying. However, I’d suggest that regardless of what branch of the craft a writer devotes themselves to they are equally respectable. It would be like me turning my nose up at my fiance because he isn’t a fan of the intricacy of Jethro Tull and prefers Greenday. THE HORROR! (Not really.)

Writers as a community have enough trouble as it is. There are predators around every corner trying to dupe them into questionable deals, take their money for little return, or tell them that they’re foolish for trying to make a living as an artist. Don’t we have enough problems without picking at each other in such a way?

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One thought on “Writing Without Pretention

  1. Marie Lavender says:

    I agree. It is hard enough to survive in this business. We need to respect each other. Heck, I have coworkers that won’t read my stuff because they think I write “bodice rippers”. I really don’t. It’s about romance, about love. And I try to tell it that way. But, you can’t win everyone. Still, we should respect the successes/hardships of other writers just as they do ours. It is not a competition. There is room for all of us here.

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