As I write this, a dear friend of mine who lives with his wife in Thailand, is experiencing his book birthday. Book birthdays, the day your words are published in tangible print, is indeed a day worth the same exuberant celebrations as bringing a life into the world; after all, you have brought something into the world that previously didn’t exist. (And fyi, let’s not forget our own fabulous Gnomie had her book birthday recently!)
But in celebrating the book birthday of my friend’s work, and the publication of another friend’s work in a magazine, I was struck by how some writers/academics/people do not respond pleasantly towards another’s publication success (not any of the Gnomies, though).
And this bothers me. Greatly. This attitude from some fellow writers, that publication for one means failure for the rest.
Argh, this irks me to no end.
Because this attitude has no place in the writing world. Well, really in the world at all.
Because publication for one writer is a tally mark in the column for all writers. With the odds stacked against us, publication and exposure sprinkled like fairy dust on both skilled and not-so-skilled writers, any success for a skilled author translates into success for us all. And yes, success in writing is so much more than publication, than awards and accolades and fame, but…publication and exposure are still worthy goals. And how can I, can we, begrudge any of our fellow writers the joy and celebration that arrive with those aims?
And I know, believe me, I know, the exhaustion that comes from submitting and submitting, and then submitting again, waiting for your words to find a home somewhere, anywhere—but the weariness and struggle of the writing profession does not give any of us permission to negate the happiness of other writers.
So, my fellow compatriots, I urge you, celebrate with your writerly family when celebrations are due, and lament with them when necessary.
Just please, be nice to each other out there.