Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Therein Lies Insanity


I recently read a book. (Stop the presses!) Not just any book, mind. No, this particular book is a bestseller. In fact, if there's a term above bestseller, that's probably what it would be called. To say this author has hit it big is a minor understatement. I simply had to know what all of the hubub was about. Call me curious--both as a reader and as a someone who writes in the same genre. I wanted--no, needed--to know just what this author had accomplished that caused her to strike this fount of literary gold.

I dutifully slapped my virtual cash on the counter and downloaded that puppy without a second thought. (Have I mentioned I'm starting to adore my Kindle? Well, I am. :))

I powered up, tabbed to the first page, took in a quick breath of anticipation...and...began...

*screeching tires*

Uh... Is that a grammatical error in the first sentence?

*Looks around for someone to confirm she's not crazy. There's no one around... Uh, maybe I imagined it. Reads on*

Oh ewww, that's a CLUNKER of a sentence.

Wait a minute....W.T.H... this entire page is riddled with awkward sentences.. Wha??

*Jen shakes her Kindle, hoping in vain that the machine will morph into a very expensive etch-a-sketch and the words will somehow reorder themselves into coherency*

By page two...maybe three... I realized that the book is complete shit.

And that, my friends, is being generous.

Sigh.

You may think I sent the book off into deletion oblivion without finishing it, but no, I trudged forward and read the entire thing. I Had To Know. And call me an optimist, but I kept hoping it would get better. Ha. I reached the halfway point without really knowing what the plot of the book was. Hell, I couldn't even find a POINT to the book by that time. Each page was like a tiny cut to my skin, and by the time I was finished, I had a festering wound that was smarting like hell.

JUST HOW DID THIS WOMAN SELL SO MANY FRIGGIN' BOOKS?
I demanded of the heavens. IT ISN'T FAIR. IT'S GARBAGE. I AM SOOOOOOO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS! HER SUCCESS IS A FLUKE. THE ONLY REASON SHE SOLD SO MANY BOOKS IS BECAUSE OF THIS, THIS, AND THIS. IT ISN'T FAIR.

*Head* *Wall*

Folks, therein lies the way to insanity. There's no point to my anger, my frustration, my...yeah, JEALOUSY. I'm jealous. This woman has accomplished everything I want out of my writing -- she's successful, people are buying her books in droves, and she's making an ample living doing what we as writers all want to do. WRITING.

Shaking my fists at the heavens and screeching, "WHY?!?!?" isn't going to change any of this. She'll probably keep selling a crap load of books, keep banking her money...and chances are, I won't.

I definitely won't if I keep up my little tirade. Every second I spend bemoaning someone else's success... every time I say to myself, "Oh, I'd be published by now if I didn't have this, this, or this obstacle in my life..." "She wouldn't be where she is if the stars hadn't aligned juuuuuust right," I'm lessening MY chances of success.

Comparing myself to her is a waste of time and energy because the ONLY thing I can control is what I put down on the page in front of me. The stories that I tell. To worry about all that other shit is pointless.

Let's face it. When someone succeeds, there is ALWAYS going to be someone out there who will say that s/he didn't deserve the success they probably worked damn hard for.

I don't want to be that person.

I may not love this woman's book, but whatever... I may think I can do a helluva lot better... GREAT. Guess it's time for me to put up or shut up.

Nothing much else I can do.

7 comments:

  1. Yeah, that's how I feel when I read Nicholas Sparks.

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  2. Thanks Jen. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels this way. I think - I hope - I'm getting better at telling myself to 'put up or shut up'.

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  3. You coulod have always read the first chapter on Amazon first... If people keep buying her books it'll just encourage her to write more!

    cheers,
    mood
    Moody Writing

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  4. I want to know who this writer is. Name and shame?

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  5. I recently read a book that has been quite popular. It was polished, smooth, edgy, all the things the agents are asking for. But NOTHING HAPPENED. The whole book I kept waiting for something of significance to happen. It didn't. Not to mention it was so predictable I knew the ending from page two. I read the whole thing and just tried to figure out how I could do it different.

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  6. Uh-huh...I think we've all been there. But, the whole 'I can do better' galvanizes me and then, I'm much more able to 'put up'. Somedays, though, the *head*wall* thing gets a hold of me too.

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  7. Oh, I hear you. So much of writing and reading is subjective and down to personal preference, but when you see things that agents and editors regularly slam on their blogs in a bestseller, it can be disheartening (not to mention confusing!).

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