Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hurtful words

August 5 2010
9:03 PM

Don't give a second thought to what came before -- you've got to get going in a new direction today, and yesterday's business is ancient history by now. You can't go wrong by pushing forward.

That’s my horoscope for today. I only pay attention to the good ones, and ignore any and all about gloom and doom. As wise as today’s may seem, I’m struggling with it. Specifically, the letting go of yesterday’s business is giving me trouble. Yesterday I read a blog that left me unsettled, and greatly saddened.

When I was a novice, I had the good fortune to learn the rules of online etiquette from the owners of two of the major online publishers over lunch one sunny afternoon. Both live within driving distance of my little hometown, and had come for a booksigning event. Their top two rules at that time were 1) be careful what you say online because it never goes away and you never know how far it will be carried or by whom, and 2) never publicly criticize other authors about anything because they will never forget and someday they may be in a position to do you great harm by simply remaining silent when your name is mentioned instead of giving you a positive recommendation. That was seven years ago, and I believe those lessons are even more important today.

It does an injustice to the novice and the struggling to post anything that can be misconstrued as unsupportive. The individual career path is as unique as the individual writer. As authors, we should be aware of the ambiguity of words, and take precautions that we don’t open the door for others to use them in ways we did not intend, for example, advancing a private agenda.

Those of us who are established need to give support where we can, and remember there are those who are easily wounded by censure. No one should be subjected to ridicule, either for their writing ability or their productivity. Let us remember not everyone is blessed with a sense of humor, and let us never be so full of ourselves that we forget our gift comes from beyond our poor human skins, and should be carefully tended, not poisoned from within.

So, yes, my horoscope today is one I should pay attention to. I need that new direction to lift my spirits.

I can’t stop the hurtful words of others, I can only avoid using them myself. I was once a novice with tender feelings, and the hurtful words said to me resulted in the fact that there is a group of women whose work I haven’t purchased in seven years.

I do not want to ever join their ranks.


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