I’ve been giving a lot of thought to many things recently. Jobs done, the sometimes unpleasant responses to doing work well, despite it being unpopular. Amid all the negativity and spite, several things have become clear–professionals admire other professionals, and amateurs find reasons to turn their issues into yours. I wear many hats, a result of working in a number of areas related to, but not exclusive to publishing. With two talented and dedicated partners and friends, I own and run an internationally read magazine that’s hosted some of the top talents in many entertainment fields. I’ve held the #1 best-seller position for over a year with one of my publishers, and achieved best-seller status with several others. Things to be proud of, to be sure.
Pride is a funny thing, just like popularity. Too much and you lose your perspective. Too little and you lose your ability to strand up straight and control your life. Popularity is a two-sided weapon–too little and you feel like all you’re doing means nothing and is reaching no one–too much and all you see is your small universe, not the bigger picture that is life.
I’ve gotten very weary of people in this business who scream and shout down the walls when things don’t go the way they want them to. Those who congregate on sites to snipe, bitch, and lay waste to their peers for whatever reasons, really need to take a closer look at what is really motivating their rage, because “the people have a right to know” is a cover for a thousand sins in any business. There truly is a right way and a wrong way to conduct your business, and public floggings are not really conducive to impressing anyone with your cause.
Like many of my peers, I’ve had issues with bad publishers, other authors, even over-zealous readers a couple of times. Unlike some, I don’t take the issues public. Nothing taints your credibility worse than “scandal” or attacking other business people. When asked about certain publishers, I will explain my experience, but I have never told anyone they shouldn’t publish with a company because I don’t like them, or for any other personal reason. We each have only OUR experiences to draw from, and one man’s joy is another man’s sorrow as we all know.
Recently, something has happened that has made me look very closely at motivation, response, and honest emotional reactions to attacks made against me. It doesn’t seem to matter a damn to anyone that some people just aren’t interested in “mud-wrestling” with anyone who happens to have a bug up their butt about someone else. Frankly, I have enough on my own plate without looking for more to add to it that doesn’t involve me in any way! Shit-storms never really blow over, they just change shape and focus, moving with the new fuel that people feed into them. Any doubts about that? Look at how many times a day any given social media is filled with virulent attacks and blasts to perceived enemies. For some it’s the only way they can get anyone’s attention, so they don the mantle of “defender” of some ideal that is then perverted and twisted to serve the immediate need of our modern Joan of Arc types.
Martyrdom aside, I have no great ambition to battle the world I want to one day conquer. My dragons have been slain, my fears acknowledged and tamed, and hopes embraced and put in the light so they can grow into real dreams attained, not simply aspired to. Until we know ourselves, we can’t really grow into all we want to become. And success should never be clawed at and clutched because it’s been stolen from someone else through manipulation and demeaning. If you think you can win your goals and dreams by tearing apart someone else, you’ll lose everything you think you’ve secured for yourself. Fact of life. Learn it well.