Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In which I reveal that I'm a dream crusher...

Okay, I know what you're thinking:

No way, Shannon. You are far too sweet to be a dream crusher. Also, have I mentioned how fabulous you look today? Not a lot of people can pull off the giant t-shirt + stretchpants look, but YOU my dear ...

(Um, okay, you're probably REALLY thinking: why did I click on this blog link?)



(Can you tell I'm writing this a wee bit late at night?)

Uh... what was I saying?

Right! The dream crushing thing.

See, I have this pet peeve... (and this is not going to be one of those author-ranting posts, I swear!) (well... maybe a little) (just go with me here)

You know how sometimes you tell someone you're a writer and--after you go through the whole awkward part where they look at you like they're expecting you to say, "Sike!" and then tell them about your "real job" (if, yanno, it were the early 90s when people said things like "Sike!" and didn't immediately get made fun of for being lame)--they get a kind of dopey grin and say something along the lines of, "I've always thought about doing that, I should write a book too!" And then proceed to ask a ton of questions about how to get published.

Yeah ... that's the part where I become a big dream crusher.

But before you judge me--let me clarify.

I do not (repeat: DO NOT) mind when people genuinely, GENUINELY want to be writers, and ask me questions about the publishing process either in person, or via email, Twitter, FB, blog comments, whatever. Shoot--why do you think I help plan WriteOnCon? I love love LOVE helping other writers figure out the mysterious and frustrating publishing world. And I gladly answer any and all questions they may have.

But that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the people who seem to think I woke up one day and thought: I think I'll write a book today!!!!!!! And then they act like they can do exactly the same thing.

Those people I can't help but give a brutally realistic picture of the time, effort, and sacrifice that 99.9% of all writers have to make in order to get published. Shoot--we endure all of that just to finish a book, regardless of whether it's published or not. And for anyone to assume otherwise is just ... frustrating. So I can't help making it painfully clear that it's not a dream for the feint of heart and they need to be 100% committed if they're going to give it a try.

Hence, dream crusher.

But before you race to unfollow me (or grab the briny pickled things to fling at me *ducks*) for being such a big mean meanie and crushing people's publishing dreams, I'd like to add one thing in my defense.

I truly, TRULY believe that if being published is REALLY your dream, then nothing--NOTHING can crush it. Not revision. Not rejection. And certainly not curmudgeon-y blonde writers who launch into tirades about the publishing industry because you hit on their pet peeve.

So I guess I'm not really a dream crusher, so much as a fleeting-whim crusher. And THAT, I'm okay with.

Plus, I find it hard to believe I'm the only one with this particular pet peeve. Anyone else out there find this annoying?



Uh oh...


  1. Yes, I totally agree that it's unrealistic to think you're going to write a perfect book with no training or practice. That's why it's taken me SO long to finish my first manuscript. I'm learning as I go. I don't think it hurts to let people know the reality of what it takes to get published.

  2. Yes, I've had people say that to me all the time, too. Part of me just sighs, thinking, wow do they really think what I'm doing is that easy? It almost demeans what I do in that sense because they don't see the hard work and think (obviously)that it's a peice of cake. The other part of me feels really bad for them BECAUSE they don't know how hard it is, and if they truly want to do it they are going to have a rude wake up call one day.

    So, no, you are not mean at all! I kind of wish people wouldn't just say things, when they need to put a little more thought into what that would mean.

  3. That's not dream crushing, that's reality revealing.

    Because those kinds of people clearly don't have the white hot burning sickness of I HAVE TO WRITE writhing in the determined belly of their soul.

    Ahem. Where was I?

  4. I tend to not tell people I'm a writer if I can help it - for that very same reason LOL. I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one!

  5. I crush dreams all the time. If they come back to me and say, "I've written a couple of chapters, would you mind looking at them," then I take them seriously and help.

    Like Matt said, it's reality revealing.

  6. Crush away--if that turns them off, then you didn't actually crush anything.

    By the way, I just google-bombed you with that "fleeting-whim crusher" phrase. You were the top hit :)

  7. Many many (please add 4 more manys) years ago as a just out of college goober, I confess to waking up one day and thinking I should write a book. It can't be that hard--ok, well I learned a lot and never wrote it.

    The experience does allow me to admire those who have and are really trying though.

  8. I'm so with you.

    It's hard not to do this to the people who DON'T deserve it. The ones who believe that because I write YA I'll be the next JK Rowling. Or the ones who say "soon I'll be reading your books to my kids, right?"

    Well, uh. How comfortable are you with swearing in front of them...?

    These are the people I usually encounter, and because I love them and want them to buy my books one day I can't/don't give them the realistic picture. Sometimes I want to hand them Writer's Market and say IT IS NOT LIKE YOU THINK!

  9. "A fleeting-whim crusher!" LOVE IT!!

    I'm not so peeved by such ignorami. The peeves for me are those who ask, upon hearing I'm a writer, "Well, have you been published?", as if only publication can bestow the role of writer.

    And one time one lady asked me: "A writer? You told you that?" As if there were a sort of writer's licensing board.

    I think she was off her meds.

    Off to crush some more fleeting whims...

  10. Ahem. The mad lady's question should have read, "Who told you that?"

    Fingers need caffeine.

  11. lol COMPLETELY AGREE =P People get this o_o look on their faces when I talk about how hard it is to get published b/c prior to that, they always ask 'so are you going to publish your story?' like I can just drop it off at a publisher and go 'PUBLISH THIS PLEASE AND THANK YOU.' Except I could if I was self-publishing... but let's not get into that.

  12. Especially on FB, I've been asked about the publishing process. I give them the facts and tell them as it is.

    So far, not one person responded to that message.

    So, yeah, I guess I'm a fellow dream crusher.

  13. This is a wise post. I've had several people ask me if I can help them with writing, and tell them how to get published. I'm like, "I can't tell you that in a single email that wouldn't be 50,000 words long."

    It's impossible to describe the HOURS spent perfecting and trying, and retrying.

  14. Yes, I read part of my children's Pb at my bookclub and now they want to see it in print. That was before the illustrations were done. Then I had to get another illo and then the pub date got delayed. on and on. Lol

    Little do they know. And now I get looks of "you looser" because my book isn't out yet.
    I haven't run into any that want to write also though.

  15. I agree with you- so I guess I'm a dream crusher too! lol

    I don't mind helping people who genuinely want to be writers and put in the time, effort, and industry research. However, people who say they want to write a book, then a couple of DAYS later give up...well, that's not passion people!

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)

  16. I'm a dream crusher and I don't even feel bad about it any more. I guess I would if writing a novel really was a goal for these folks, not just a pipe-dream/whim/conversation piece.

  17. Dude, you are so not the only one. I walk a constant balance beam between

    1) Rolling my eyes, sighing, patting their shoulder and saying, "Honey, let me tell you how it really is."


    2) A cheesy grin and obviously fake peppiness saying, "Omgosh, that's so awesome!"

    I probably revert to the second one more often, even though I usually feel like I'm lying. :)

  18. Where are those briny pickled things when you need them? Ha! :)

    I can so relate!

  19. I have done the exact same thing! Fleeting Whim Crushers unite!!! :) It drives me CRAZY when a friend is like, "oh, yeah, I'm totally a writer. I wrote a third of a manuscript in highschool, but I never tried to get it published or anything. Editing? What's that?"
    (I think it may be one of my pet peeves as well...)
    In other news, my first thought upon opening the link actually was, "No way, Shannon, you are WAY too sweet to be a dream crusher." Like, verbatim.

  20. Can you please crush my husbands dreams? Not that he wants to be published...but he seems to think I should be already, and wonders why we're not living in the lap of luxury from my book sales.

    Someone needs to make a pamphlet or card to pass out with the cold hard facts on it for conversations such as these.

  21. That is totally annoying! It's not just you! I don't have the energy to get into the dream-crushing though. Haha. But yes, you are not alone in being annoyed. It's what makes me NOT want to tell people about the whole writing thing at all. :P

  22. I don't think it's dream crushing! I think it's a reality check.

    The pet peeve of mine is when people are like "Oh I've always wanted to write a book, but I just don't have the time." I bite my tongue and simply say, "If it's what you want to do, you have to make the time." but in my head I'm screaming, "Really? and you think all these writers have so much spare time? You think they don't have to carve minutes out of every day to write? I sleep six hours a night because I don't have the time either!"

  23. Those people rarely build the bridge between "thinking about writing" and "BIC writing."

  24. Interesting post. If it is on a whim that they tell you thay want to write a book, I don't think you'll be crushing any dreams. I'm still a follower and I'm not going to go anywhere. I enjoy your posts too much!


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