The Hardest Part of Being a Professional Writer. . . and a One Month Experiment
I have a love/hate relationship with social media, especially twitter, and the hate side keeps gaining ground. It’s not just the usual: the ugly politics, the righteous opinionated rants, the stupidity and falsehoods. The endless gifs and memes (ok, fine, I like those!)
For a writer, it’s the goddamned comparison.
And, every day, there it is, right in my face:
The Thief of Joy.
The comparison to other artists, other writers, that I can take. That is bearable. I’m always wishing for their success.
The comparison to — or within — the industry — from my very publishing team . . . ? Honestly, that’s the part that’s getting to me a little more than I can handle.
It’s not their fault. They tell you from the get go that publishing is a business, and publishers are there to make money. We know this. Of course we do. And their business model is, in many instances, backwards. Success can have little to do with talent, except when it totally does.
Also, your books may be YOUR babies, but, no matter what anyone says, authors are not their agents’ and editors’ babies. At least not, like, really.
Say what they might, they don’t love you all equally or forever more. Or at least, they’re not going to spend their time nurturing you equally if your books aren’t performing.
Nope. They’re moving on. They’ve got a whole new season with which to hit the bestseller list. And, you know, keep their own jobs.
* Deep breath.**
Here’s what I’m going to do since I can’t change publishing.
For the month of May, I’m going to quietly unfollow my agent and editors.
I love them. I really do. And I’m sure they, well, um, care about me.
But there’s enough trauma in my world on the daily, I don’t need to sign on to twitter to see how much they are loving up on their OTHER authors. How great THEIR books are doing! How wonderfully they’re sitting on the New York Times Bestseller list. How proud they are to represent them.
I don’t need to swallow my pride and click on that damned little heart, in the hopes that my goodwill will somehow come back to me. I don’t have to count the number of times they’ve tweeted and retweeted others’ accomplishments but must have “missed” mine.
I don’t have to work hard to remind myself of the truth: that what I just wrote, probably isn’t even accurate, that, in this regard, my emotional brain has obliterated any semblance of my mindful one.
And, I don’t want to get off twitter altogether because I use it to speak out — to lend my voice against the onslaught of injustices. To share resources.
So, I’m just going to quietly unfollow.
And hope they don’t notice.
I’m pretty sure they won’t even notice.
Gae is the author of several novels for readers of all ages, though shelved as tween and young adult. You can read more about her and her books at gaepolisner.com