by Giselle Renarde
I've never been entirely clear which generation I belong to--X or Y? According to Wikipedia, Generation X spans birth years from the 60s to the early 80s and Y is early 80s to 2000. I'm in my mid-thirties. I was born right on the cusp. Maybe that's why I've never seen the qualities typically associated with either of those generations in myself.
This is going somewhere--I promise.
When I worked in the business world (this would have been maybe 2002-2006?), I couldn't get over the number of V.P.-by-thirty types. They were everywhere--in my company, my clients' companies, my clients' clients' companies. The kids were in charge. Twenty-somethings were the bosses. It was... weird.
Me? I never wanted to leap-frog ahead. I've always believed in climbing the ladder, and that should take time and maturity. When I think of myself just out of university... WOW! I was incredibly juvenile. My interpersonal skills were terrible because I hadn't learned how to relate to other people with compassion.
With every year that goes by, I realize how much I didn't know the year before, and how very much I have yet to learn.
That's why I've never been keen to rush my writing career ahead of its natural pace. Don't get me wrong--I would love to sell more books and earn more money, but I don't feel that I "deserve" huge success right away. I don't think anyone deserves that, necessarily, but seems like there are a lot of authors who will do whatever it takes to make it big.
I don't want to be critical of ruthless self-promoters. When it comes right down to it, they're just more driven than I am. Honestly, I wouldn't find myself so irritated with authors whose twitter streams are a steady flow of books ads and "Yay! My book has a hundred million 5-star reviews!" if I weren't so jealous of their ability to do so. I have trouble selling myself.
This is obviously an antiquated notion, but I believe success should take time and effort. Feel free to say it's envy talking--it probably is--but when authors achieve wild successes by morally questionable means, it bothers me. Why? If readers weren't inspired by a bunch of sock puppet 5-star reviews to buy other books, would they be buying mine instead? Probably not. So why do I even care about other authors' ethics and practices?
I guess I just feel like we should all operate on a level playing field.
The thing is--we do. In any industry, some people are going to cheat to get ahead while the rest of us schmucks toil away to scrape enough cash together to pay the rent. For someone who's led a fairly immoral personal life, I have surprisingly high ethical standards when it comes to my writing business.
At the end of the day, I guess I'd rather eat oatmeal three meals a day and go to bed with a clear conscience. I can't control other people's actions. Only my own.