I've been thinking about this post for awhile, turning it over and upside down in my head, wondering if it was worth writing. Wondering why I felt the need to express these feelings even though nothing will likely change by my doing so except maybe ticking people off. I don't know. I hope that won't happen. I hope others will say that they can relate and a dialog may begin.
I also hope that what results is those who I appreciate realize even more just how much I appreciate them, and those who are absent know how much they are missed.
It's been two months or so now since I went the Indie route and published my book.
I haven't changed.
Aside from a few more weblinks on the blog, a few interviews here and there (everyone does them, and I have interviewed far more writers than I've been interviewed by) and yes, the obligatory tweet about my book now and then (I try to keep the 'commercials' to a minimum...) I am still the same as I was two months ago.
Thing is, almost everyone else is acting different.
I hear from so few of the writers I considered friends now.
I know that everyone is busy and everyone has lives of their own to tend to, that's true of me too but I have tried to be present and at least respond to the goings on in my writer-buddies' lives to the best of my ability. Even if that's just answering a tweet or a FB post. People make time for those who are important to them.
I just can't get over how quiet it became, immediately after I published my book. No, that's not when it started, I think it started really when my work was published in a literary magazine for the first time. With each subsequent publication, things got quieter.
It's like (and I am speaking in generalizations here, larger pictures, I know there are people who are exceptions to each of the following) the unpublished writers treat the published writers differently.
The published writers treat each other differently based upon how they were published (and let me just say once more and for the record that being Indie is my first choice not my last resort. I've chosen to be where I am, because right now it works better with my health and my temperament. Someday, who knows. We'll see.)
I turned comments off for a reason here awhile back (long story, for a time it was necessary and I hope that time has passed) I have been trying to turn them back on, blogger has not been cooperating. Regardless, those who care have found other ways to reach me but by and large people just dropped off the face of the Earth the minute my book came out.
I wish I understood why.
Why is it different to be a writer with a book out there than one still working on their first? What does it matter how I'm published or you're published, can't we all just cheer each other along on the difficult road we travel as writers? Forget who is an 'author' and who isn't. We write, we are all writers.
The people who have been there--shown up, come through in ways I never imagined anyone would for me and entirely on their own, without me asking-- have blown me away and I am so grateful to them. I will have a very long memory for the kindnesses these folks showed, without asking for or expecting a thing in return and I will find my own ways in which to try my best to return these unexpected favors in time, not because I feel obligated but because I really want to see my friends do well and any tiny thing I can do towards helping that I want to do.
What has been disheartening is that so many who cheered me on during my "I'll keep stuffing everything in a trunk and be done with it" days (which I long for, a lot of the time and have been doing again lately) have just vanished. Silence...I only hear crickets, as the old saying goes.
That camaraderie was something I valued, and something I miss.
I'll continue to try to be there for the writers I know, plugging them when I can,whether they are just starting their first novel manuscript or are national best selling authors. Whether they are even aware of it or not.
I'll try to show the same kindness I would want shown to me and to most of all, I will show up to celebrate the successes and acknowledge the hardships of the people I care about, whether in an email, a FB reply, whatever form it may take.
Showing up is an integral part of being a friend. And I value those who have, and do, show up, more than ever before.
I'll keep doing my best to show up for you, too.
Have you experienced this as a writer, a division in the camps the moment you publish something? I'd be curious to hear how you handled it, if you just accepted it and moved on. I'm just about to the acceptance part, maybe writing this post is part of the 'moving on'...