Oh God, and now I’m doing it myself. I’m writing a passive aggressive post about how much I dislike other people’s passive aggressive posts! Ugh.
Well, it’s not the first time, I guess. Looking through my posts I realize I’ve done this a lot. I read things I don’t like, and then I rant. Should I stop?
I don’t even care, I will continue…
/warning! rant imminent/
It seems like every time I go on facebook, or my wordpress reader, or twitter (rare, that one, but still), I read some post where someone (an author, usually) is bemoaning how some vague “other authors” are doing some writing-related thing that annoys them. Mostly these posts are about minor, harmless things: like an overused word, or an annoying type of character, or a particular style of writing. Just little things that for whatever reason, some people don’t prefer.
I can accept this from readers and reviewers (though I think it is in poor taste) because their primary role is that of a consumer. They can get judge-y. That is their job, sort of. But other writers? (Yes, I know we are all readers, too.) Other writers should be more careful.
Please stop this behavior people. Please? Because it really makes you look like an asshole. When all your status updates start with “I can’t stand it when writers insist on using the phrase….” or “Why do authors always…..” or “If I have to read one more story where the main character…” In other words, “you are all ‘doing it wrong’ and I am better than you.”
The worst part is usually there are lots of people willing to chime in, all supporting the horrible habit or trope or trend that this passive-aggressive-poster pointed out. Like: “Ooo, you are so right! I hate that, too!” and “Tsk, tsk. When will those dumb authors learn?”
Those posts don’t help anyone. They hurt feelings and create an environment where belittling, insults, and derision are acceptable. That is not the kind of thing we should be supporting.
Under the guise of “improving” writers, people post “top mistakes writers make” or “things I hate to read”. And every writer clicks the link, half terrified that they will be guilty of one of the crimes listed. We memorize the violations, making a note to never, ever do any of them.
The thing is, for every “never do this”, there is probably an example of some writer who did just that thing, and did it well. And for every writer who goes on that page, or reads that update, and laughs or chimes in, there are probably several others who click away, cowed and unsure. (Often I am in this latter group, hence the ranty post today)
For us ‘doing it wrong’ writers, the chances our writing will change after reading your post is slim. Writing changes slowly: a good critique group, a kind but honest editor, and practice are what is needed for that. What your post WILL change is our willingness to participate in the writing community. We might still make those “mistakes”, but we will no longer ask for help. Was that your intention? To create an unwelcoming atmosphere of open ridicule? Because that is what you did.
So I am asking for this to stop. Next time you feel inclined to post some negative shit, just keep your mouth shut. Or maybe, instead of posting every day about some random pet peeve, you post about something you enjoy, or someone who is “doing it right”? Here’s an idea: stop being a dick and start supporting your fellow writers! Because if the only way you can pump yourself up is by putting other people down, you are a loser. Get off the playground and work on your self-esteem issues. Come back when you’re ready to play nice.