The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Be Kind

I'm speaking to authors now, but this could equally apply to anyone. Let's be realistic, fellow scribblers. Very few among us (sure, take a moment, wag your finger, and say ... speak for yourself, fellah ... Feel better? Let's move on) are going to hit the big time. The vast majority of us will write in one niche or another for years and make small differences in people's lives, living our passion and making a living. That said, let's be kind to one another. We live in an age where people seem to be determined to dismantle each other with words, tarring reputations, and slinging accusations fast and furious. You find this one the web, you find it on TV, you find it on radio, you find it everywhere. Be different. Be kind. Why, you ask? When everyone else is being mean and delighting in verbal pyrotechnics, why should I hold back? Why shouldn't I crow from the rooftops when another author makes mistakes? Should I not point this out and show my superior research skills? Should I not warn the public against this hack?

No, you shouldn't. Writing is hard. Research is tricky. We are all human and we all are going to make mistakes that end up in print, no matter how hard we try not to. Give other authors grace as a professional courtesy. Do it because it is the kind and humane thing to do. Discovering you've made mistakes in print is extraordinarily painful--even more so when some other author jubulantly declares that you've done so. Better yet, show this kind of grace to other authors because the day will come (oh yes it will, especially if you write for a living) when you need that grace from your fellow authors.

Be kind. It's humane, it's human, and it is entirely countercultural.

Happy writing!

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