I have been in the depths of Revision Land for the last two weeks. Once I surfaced, I started noticing all the venom being spewed on the web from several different writers. Different circumstances, same vitriol. I know that writers are like the rest of humanity: there are some nut cases in our ranks. These people, though, thoroughly confuse me.
I think I could have blown off a lot of the comments if these people worked in a steel mill. Or if they dug worms for a living. But as writers, it seemed to me that you should be held to a higher standard. Why? Because being a writer equips you with some special talents.
Being a writer means you’re curious.
You look beneath the surface of someone’s words. You want to know why they’re behaving the way they are. What are they thinking? What motivates them? You have to do that with characters, or you’ve created one dimensional people.
Being a writer means you’re understanding.
You know there are two sides to a story, because you’ve written them. You see the Ying/Yang of conversation, of interpersonal relationships. Plus, you have empathy for the human condition.
Being a writer means you have patience.
It requires some degree of patience to work on a book that’s a 100,000 words, one word at a time. Plus, you have to deal professionally with people who occasionally make you want to scream AND you have to keep your mouth shut.
Being a writer means you’re often humbled.
Bad reviews will do that in a heartbeat. So will the realization that you’ve erred. You haven’t fleshed out a character well enough or explained a plot to the point the reader understands.
It seems to me that if you have these abilities when you sit down and write that they should carry over into your personal life. I’m not saying writers are perfect, or should be. Heaven knows I’m not. But wouldn’t you think awareness would be one of those qualities a writer would possess as well?