If you haven’t been on my blog in a while (which I admit is partially my own fault), you might not know that I’m still technically doing the A to Z Challenge.
See, back in April, my Internet, electricity and even just my life conspired together to stop me finishing the Challenge in April. I wanted to finish the posts, though, so I turned it into a weekly series. Slowly, but surely, I’m getting there. And I have to say that I’m enjoying the fact that I have a ready-made topic at least once a week.
Today, I’m going to address a little-expected fact of a writer’s life:
We all get exposed to an alarming number of stupid people.
Which is to say:
People who think they know everything about writing when they’ve never really ever tried it.
It’s easy to spot them. Some recent favorites that I’ve read/heard people say:
John Green is a pervert because he writes about teenage girls.
Writers should bow to the wishes of their fandom and change canon to suit them.
Then there are the old classics:
How hard can it be, sweety?
You can’t be any good if you don’t have a publisher yet.
Oh, so you’re published? You must be swimming in money.
Or the million little variations of absolute bullshit spewed by Literature teachers everywhere (Sorry. Not sorry.), which then gets perpetuated in some negative way by people who know even less about writing, because the last time they even read anything was in high school.
In short: People who pretend to know all about my life as a writer. They then try to belittle my experience as a writer. And in reality they don’t even have a vague clue. This. Pisses. Me. Off.
Generally speaking, there are three reactions:
1) Hit a shovel into the stupid person’s face. (But this might land you in jail.)
2) Ignore the idiot, but seethe about it for days.
3) Or basically respond with some variation of “Well, why don’t you try writing and then get back to me, you asshole.”
I usually go with option 3. Sometimes, I even take the time to explain. The worrying thing is that more often than not, these people insist on remaining stupid. They don’t want to learn because really, they want to persist in belittling writers. Maybe it makes them feel better about their insignificant little lives. Or maybe they’re just trying to bully people for daring to be even a little different.
The point is, if you’ve explained why things don’t work the way people imagine, and people still refuse to stop belittling you, you now know to wash your hands of the whole situation. You’re not a bad writer because of not living up to the stupid person’s expectations. They just can’t/won’t understand.
And hey, if you’ve tried, you’ve tried. Sometimes, you don’t get through to them. Sometimes, you convert people to the dark-side. In trying to prove us wrong, they not only prove us right, but discover their own love for writing. Or sometimes, they discover they don’t love writing because it’s so dang difficult. But at least then, you’ve got them to shut up.
Either way, the important thing to know is that when it comes to writing, non-writers are the stupid ones. Not you. Never you.
Any stupid people in your life? What’s your pet peeve stupid question? How do you deal with the stupidity?