I've done this before--tried over and over to write a blog and had it turn into a rant with each attempt. It's happened again today. I'm not apologizing, though. If ya don't wanna read it, ya don't gotta.
So, I've noticed that in the publishing world "like attracts like." Writers of the same genre seem to find each other and congregate. This is a good thing. It allows for the development of critique groups. It gives writers a support system. It surrounds us with people who "get" us--people who write the same kind of stuff, and who understand our genre and style.
Another kind of writer grouping seems to occur naturally, too. That of talent/experience level. Writers who have traveled about the same distance tend to find each other and form friendships. Newbies, nearly-published, first-time published, multi-published. You don't see authors with a dozen books under their belt buddying up with writers who have just started the journey. Sometimes more experienced writers offer to guide those several steps behind, but they don't send newbies their manuscripts for critique.
I remember as a new author being irritated by this fact. I saw it as a "social club" almost. I'd read published books that I thought weren't any better than my manuscript. I'd see pictures online of authors hanging out together and think to myself, "See, it IS who you know." But I've come to realize it's more like the graduating class in high school. They're the seniors and they've known each other since freshman year. And someday, I'll be in my own senior class.
Oh, wait--you're wondering what happened to the rant, aren't you?
Here it is:
Graduation isn't automatic. You may all turn a year older at about the same time, but you won't move into the next grade unless you pass your classes. You have to show up for class, do the homework, and take tests. You have to work.
There are exceptions of course. The quarterback who is given passing grades so there's no chance he'll get cut from the team. The class schmoozer who talks the teacher into giving him an extension for almost every assignment. The girl who plays victim so the teachers will feel sorry for her and be more lenient. We've all seen it. And it happens in the writing world, too.
There are writers who seem to think they can stand on others' shoulders. They think that if they can make the right "connections" they'll be guaranteed a spot with a publisher. They figure name-dropping and elbow-rubbing will get them in. They want that graduation cap and robe, they want that diploma, but they don't want to do the work everyone else has to do. Like learning craft. Like getting critique. Like learning how to take advice from the experts. Like actually writing and submitting.
Sure, there are writers who get published through luck or circumstance. Sometimes, it is who you know. Sometimes you can schmooze your way to success. Sometimes, but rarely. Besides--what does it gain you? What difference does it make to be called a writer if you're not called so because of your actual writing?
There are days when I feel I've run a 1,000-mile marathon in order to take one baby step toward publishing. It's frustrating. What is more frustrating, though, is when I see writers trying to jump ahead, looking for the easy way. Maybe that works for them. But I'd rather live in obscurity and know that I've done all that I can to make my writing the best it can be than gain notoriety I didn't earn.
OK, there. My rant. I'm done now.