Zombified Trolls and Vampires and Dingle Berries, Oh my!
I'm going to discuss a few of the people you need to look out for on your road to success, whether your field is writing, acting, or day care there are some people in this world you need to understand so you can avoid any nasty surprises. I was inspired to write this by a stream of tweets by the lovely Alyssa Day, a very successful author who still finds the time to encourage others despite being a mother, author, and last but not least a Navy Wife. I capitalize that for a reason. This is what she wrote that inspired me last night:
Note to aspiring authors: There will be a few emotional vampires who attach to you as you go along; only happy when you're struggling and getting rejections. These same people will resent any success you have. But the GREAT news is that most writers are not like this. So find your writing friends early and hold them close & cheer for them every step of the way. When you're successful, they'll be the ones you can trust. ~Alyssa Day
Zombified Tolls-These are the people that will tear you down and suck the marrow from your bones if we were in a fairy tale. In real life they will do it, but in a metaphorical sense. They'll be the ones that constantly tell you that success is for someone else, or that you're not really a writer until you outsell (fill in the blank with famous author's name here). The truth of the matter is they are the naysayers and the critics, and if you're smart you'll find a way to appreciate them. They may be Negative Nancy's and constantly tell you that you suck, but they are usually pretty reliable in their negativity. Use their negative comments as fuel to your writing fire. I'm not saying that you should try to please everyone, but take what they say as a challenge to write the best damn book you can. Write it to please yourself, because they won't ever like what you do or say, but if you know you busted your ass and put your heart and soul into the project, you've done a good job. These people will be frustrating to deal with, but they are what they are. They wear their attitude on their sleeve and won't blow smoke up your skirt just to be your friend. In other words you can see them for what they are and deal with them accordingly.
Vampires-These folks are probably the worst of the lot, in my opinion. They have the appearance of someone just like you, but under that normal looking facade is a predator. They will latch on to you and pretend to be your friend while secretly hoping the worst for you. Sometimes they're true nature shines through in the form of passive-aggressive ass-hattery. They'll want to be involved in your business purely to point out how much more awesome their work is, or to give you false praise. You know the people I'm talking about, they plaster on smiles that look more like a baring of teeth than any genuine feeling of good will. They follow along your path in the hopes of riding your coattails to the top. You have to be careful because some of them are very good at disguising themselves and you won't see the fangs tearing out your throat because you've allowed them to get behind you and plot. They will say things like, "Oh you got into that class? Well that's real nice. I decided not to bother with it because I have SO much going on and I just can't take the time to play around with such silly things." Yeah. Whatever biotch. I busted my ass to get where I am and you're not going to be latching onto my neck any time soon. *readies stakes*
Dingle Berries-The dingle berries of the world are just that. They latch onto your ass and won't let go no matter how hard you try to shake them off. Please bear with me, I know this comparison is getting a little squicky. If you didn't know what a dingle berry was you might assume it was some sweet little berry. I strongly caution, DON'T EAT THE BERRIES! They will be the friends or family that have been ambivalent through the majority of your struggles, but when you reach your success, will be right by your side trying to take in the glory with you as if they were right by your side the whole time. While they can be annoying and ask for money, they are usually harmless and might even be truly happy for your success. *I'm adding this in after this post has already gone up, but I had forgotten to mention it and I think it's important. Dingle berries can also come in the form of yes-men. They want you to be pleased and happy so they will tell you everything you write is the best thing they've ever read. "It's amazing! You're going to win a (fill in the blank for fancy award here), I just know it!" When what you really need to hear is that the voice is lacking, your punctuation is sucking harder than a Dyson, and there are two whole chapters missing from your MS conversion. Take their praise when you need a boost of confidence, but don't let your head swell up to Macy's Day Parade proportions.
These aren't the only people in the world, so I'm going to remind you that this world isn't completely filled with jackasses and creatures that want your soul.
I have been very fortunate to have found a couple of fellow up and coming writers that are there to support each other. We discovered each other through Twitter and have formed a band of eclectic and unique voices. They have given me great critiques and have been nothing, but supportive. They won't blow smoke up my skirt. I know if I ask them an honest question, they'll give me an honest answer. You need people like this. There are people out there if you take the time to look. It took me almost a year before I stumbled upon these lovely ladies and I'm thankful I did. No I won't divulge my powerhouse CP's sorry, they're mine. MWAHAHAHA...Sorry, we were talking about something important. Uh. Oh yeah! The majority of the writing community is VERY supportive. They want to see books succeed. They want to find the next great book. Some agents and editors are more open to questions than others, but you get that with anything in life. Find your special band of merry men/women/writers/sloths and treat them well. Cheer on their successes and cheer even louder if they falter. We are ALL in it to win it, baby. So strap on your battle gear and prepare for war! Or, ya know, drink some coffee and get writing. I have faith in you. <3