So this happened. Like a week ago. I haven’t commented in the comments on the original post because I was initially caught up in other things. Yet the blog entry has lain there in my frontal lobe like a dry and jagged splinter, poking the gray matter into a bloody mess. So I’m writing about it now.
The original blog post by Mike Duran is one of those “funny” things that people write occassionally in an attempt to satirize the environment. Unfortunately I think that a lot of times the humour ends up being at the expense of already-vulnerable people.
The original post is “the top 5 clichés used by Christian writers” and makes a lot of hay out of the fact that Christian writers don’t get published because their stuff isn’t that good but they use God’s Will as an excuse.
Whenever a published writer makes fun of unpublished writers it really makes me angry. Getting published is like winning the lottery; yes, some people have better stuff, but that’s really only the equivalent of having enough cash on hand to buy more tickets. Ultimately the difference between what gets picked up by a traditional press (small or large) and what doesn’t comes down to who you know or what you know or how much time and money you had to put into chasing down agents and going to conferences.
There are a lot of writers out there who are at the stage of their life where they have other priorities. Yes, they’re writers and they are writing as God called them (or fate directed them or whatever your belief system is that drives you to strive). But they are also raising babies who won’t be babies forever. Duran is published, but I’ll happily point out that he didn’t start writing or get published until his children were grown and out of the house. It’s easy to mock someone twenty years younger who is in a different place in her life.
Everyone is different, and everyone has a different path. Author Eric Wilson got an agent and a publishing deal out of his reviews on Amazon. Author Jennifer Weiner got a publishing deal because she went to an Ivy League school and knew someone who knew someone at Seventeen Magazine. Are we going to make fun of everyone who doesn’t go to an Ivy League School or who doesn’t spend hours a week reviewing Christian fiction on Amazon?
My path is different from a lot of people’s. I have books that were published as work-for-hire in the early 2000s. I could mock anyone whose book didn’t sell 20,000 copies like each of mine did but then I’d not be truthful about the fact that my book was packaged in a kit which people likely bought as much for the decorative coasters. My fiction will get published someday, but I’m not yet sure how. I just go about my life and do as God directs. In the meantime I’d like to think that I won’t derive self-satisfaction at the expense of people on a different road.