"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

WRITER'S DREAM; "It's a Flash in the Pan"!

 As soon as you begin to write in a serious way you will inevitably have to deal with the naysayers and dream stealers.  In my experience the most vocal naysayers were the people I loved...family, best friends, my then fiance.  It hurt that those close to me refused to accept my ambition to write as a valid career goal.  Not only were they dismissive of my dream, they took delight in sneering at me for it.

Naively I believed that publication would put a stop to their jeers. It didn't; it just gave them a more defined target, as to begin with I was only published in a very small way and for no payment.  As my work grew to a more successful level of publication, the sneers simply escalated to suit and were presented to me with a smirk and a smoke screen of joviality - they were only having a bit of fun, after all.  Eventually the outright sneering gave way to huffs, tuts and deep sighs of envy at any mention of my work as a full time writer.  I was living through a classic case of tall poppy syndrome, being surrounded by crabs in a bucket who were trying to pull me down. 

Then for a short time my success seemed to be 'supported' by those close to me and I thought I'd had a break through. It has recently been brought to light however that much of this 'support' was more of an attempted hostile take-over of my career by a piggy-backer just pumping me for publishing information so she could drop my name and try to get herself published by riding on my coat tails. I turned a blind eye when I thought it was a one off, but once I realized it had being going on repeatedly since 2003 I took action. The take-over has completely failed; the piggy-backer has been named and shamed to all my editors and music producers; the ranks of publishing have been closed against her. I can do without that kind of 'support'.

Success breeds envy. It is a common complaint that when someone becomes well known in their work, they drop their old friends and associates, but if jealousy were not a factor, then friendships and relationships would remain in tact when success comes knocking.  For too many years I put up with a lot of envy, back-stabbing and sniping comments from people I loved.  Now I have a new tactic; if the tie can be severed (so if it is not a family member) then I will do so.  Life is too short and I have worked too hard to let jealousy stand in my way.  

If you want to write, those close to you might feel threatened by your ambition.  My ex-fiance regularly told me that I had ideas above my station - what he meant was that I had ideas and potential above his station and he didn't like it. I have never severed a tie where I have missed the relationship afterwards; in fact it has always felt quite liberating to be free of the dead-weight hanging on my coat-tails. So if you are experiencing anything similar, it might help you to know that it's not just you! It happens.  

Here are some of the sniping comments that loved ones have leveled at me over the years. You might have heard something similar yourself;

It's a flash in the pan!
This on the publication of my first book. More than a decade later, my pan just keeps getting bigger and the flash flashier.

Oh I forgot, you're a big shot author now aren't you?
Yes, I am.

Wouldn't you be better off jacking in this writing lark and getting a nice little bar job?
Er, no, not really.

A writer? Mmm, but what's your real job?

No-one wants to know how you worship the Moon Goddess!
Oh, really? My entire career to date begs to differ. M,B,S author.

I bet that's a signed copy of her latest publication! Prop up the coffee table with it.
No more freebies for you then!

But you don't do it all yourself do you? I mean, the editors tell you what to write don't they?
Yes, I do it all myself and no they don't. I decide what to write and where to publish it.

You'll never get published, it's just a pipe-dream! Grow up. Get a real job!
This was bad advice. My career in publishing speaks for itself.

It's not art; you're not a real writer, you're just a hack.
This from an unpublished failed 'journalist' wannabe.  Sour grapes? Oh, I think so.

It's not quite Byron is it?
Wasn't meant to be. Everything I write is meant to be Marie Bruce

Will you give a free copy of your book/album to a friend of mine?
No I won't. Go out and buy it and I'll sign it if you like, but I am a business not a charity.

Will you put this poem of mine/my friends in your next book?
No I won't. I am not a fast track to publication for the lazy. My work is just that - my own work.

You didn't really record an album though did you? You just let the musicians use your name.
Actually I wrote and sang every word, of every song and every melody was my own composition, so yes, I really did record an album. I am a recording artist now as well as an author - deal with it.

Oh I'm a writer too! Yes, I'm looking for a publisher. Will you introduce me to your editor?
Which one? Very unlikely. Do the leg work.

But are you actually published? (looking puzzled)
This from a local doctor, bless her! My response was; "As much as you actually went to medical school!"

You must be one of those self-published ebook authors?
No. I write for traditional publishing houses. Plural.

You'll never make it as a writer; you don't have what it takes. You'd be better to get a job in a supermarket, work your way up to management level. Forget the writing altogether.
Again, this was bad advice. I'm glad I didn't listen to it!

The moral of this post is, if your loved ones are threatened by your writing ambitions enough to snipe at you for it, you are probably in with a good chance of success! Don't let the naysayers grind you down. Just smile and chalk it up to envy, then keep calm and write :-)

1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate to this post ! Being victim to such comments, has resulted in me talking myself out of writing as being a valid career option numerous times over the last year. However, no more! I have decided that 2013 is the year that I am going to be true to myself and my dreams, ambitions and beliefs, and that includes writing :-). I look forward to hearing details of any new books you have due for release in 2013 and beyond x