I’ve been having one of those days. You know the ones where nothing goes right from the moment you get out of bed in the morning? My threshold for stupid was exactly nil, and my temper was on a very, very short leash. Under those circumstances I received a comment on my old blog A Field of Paper Flowers on one of my most popular posts. I still get them from time to time as everything is very nicely indexed and my old posts are more likely to show up in google searches as based there, even though I’ve imported all of them here. In any event, my internal response to this post consisted of disbelief, rage, insult, and a not inconsiderable amount of language my mother would consider unladylike. My good sense prevailed–barely–and I managed to respond to this person that we would simply have to agree to disagree. High road and all that.
But I was just so angry about the whole thing–which wasn’t assisted by the fact that my day continued to descend into the bowels of bathroom plumbing from the second I got to work. I directed Pot to the post and its series of comments to get her take on the issue, and then I went in search of painkillers and had a lengthy meeting with my boss during which time said pain killers kicked in (oh what a difference no headache makes) and I had an opportunity to cool down. By the time I got back to my computer, Pot had very eloquently encapsulated all the things about this commenter that had infuriated me. The end result? I went back in and deleted all of this person’s comments (he had been by that post and posted on this issue a few months back) and blocked him from posting there again. His comments were not germane to the topic of the post and there’s no sense in allowing him the opportunity to get to me in the future. Hey, my blog, my prerogative.
But it really got me to thinking about how many people out there take the anonymity of the internet as a free license to be an asshat. I’m not the first person to post about this, nor will I be the last. Drama breaks out everywhere online because people do not maintain the bounds of civility or common courtesy when they can hide behind an anonymous screen name. The person who commented on my blog used a blog address that no longer exists. I’ve seen this type of person in so many places online. This is the kind of guy… who forces his opinion on everyone and believes that anyone who doesn’t share it is wrong. He expresses his views in ways and in places where the topic is not even related to what he’s posting about. His tone is condescending, his grammar and punctuation often wrong, and his attitude so rabid that he’s not going to do anything but offend someone. This type of person exists in all spheres of the internet, but as applies to writing, this is the guy who claims that HIS way is the Right Way of writing and doing things and that any of us who do things differently are fools. He implied that I knew nothing because I wasn’t published, and I didn’t stand a chance of obtaining representation (and of course I couldn’t check out his credentials as he so thoughtfully removed his blog–not that anyone who makes those kinds of widespread grammatical errors will ever convince me that they’ve been published). He spent a great deal of time and effort maligning writing workshops and writer’s groups (when I made absolutely no mention of either of those things in my post or anywhere in the comments), in a tone that suggests to me that he himself wasted a lot of money and time and effort on them and wants to take his impotent outrage out on everyone else in the writing world.
Get a clue, dude. There is no one way to do things. There are as many different methods of writing as there are writers, and there’s nothing wrong with trying out workshops or writer’s groups or critique partners or craft books if you take something away from them and are able to use it constructively. Those things are only detrimental when one’s time is spent only focusing on them rather than getting down to the necessary butt-in-chair writing that eventually leads to success. I don’t ever claim to have all the answers. I simply offer up what has worked for me–for free, I might add. And if somebody else can get something out of that, great!
Thanks for listening.
A more relevant post on the issue of urban fantasy vs. paranormal romance is coming tomorrow.