Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Maniacs and Asses

George Carlin had a famous routine about your fellow drivers on the highway. Anyone faster than you was a maniac. Anyone slower than you was an ass. (well, you get the idea) I try not to feel that way when people talk about how their writing is going. I have to resist the urge to shout.

I've been a member of several writing groups, some online. Invariably there's a discussion on how people are doing. One elderly woman bragged about being halfway through her haiku about flowers. Seriously. I had the urge to shout ass. One guy said that he appeared on a radio show with his self-published book about quantum physics in the bedroom and sold over a hundred thousand copies in an hour. I wanted to shout maniac.

I'm not even going to talk about the people who go on and on and on and on when they talk about their writing. They can be maniacs or asses, and if someone makes an announcement for longer than a two minute movie trailer during a meeting, it doesn't matter.

With my own announcements, I have made myself a target, both in person and online. If I brag about selling fifty books at a book signing, I am most certainly a maniac. If I announce that I wrote a really nice paragraph then I almost always an ass.

The important thing is not to let it get to you either way. As I've said, be happy for other people's success. Have empathy for people's difficulties. Realize that when you make an announcement that you are going to cause a reaction in other people's feelings either way.

So next time you are making an annoucement, pretend that the late George Carlin is peering down from the great comedy club in the sky. Don't worry about whether he considers you a maniac or an ass. Just ask yourself, am I entertaining him?

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