On Humility and Shooting Yourself in the Foot

As you should know by now, I am not what you call a consistent blogger. In fact, it usually takes an incredible burst of energy (often fueled by coffee, sudden inspiration, and a virgin sacrifice), amazing news I can’t keep to myself, or having something absolutely ridiculous happen that I feel the need to share with the six, or so, people that actually read this blog. Well, as it so happens, today I couldn’t quite catch me a virgin, and I don’t have anything particularly exciting to share with everyone. That pretty much means that someone has done something unforgivably offensive or spectacularly stupid.

You’re in for a real treat today because it just so happens to be both!

On Thursday, In The Inbox introduced the world to David Benjamin. A crotchety old man who I can’t help but imagine kicks puppies and screams at his blog visitors to get off his virtual lawn.

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Turns out, Davey Boy takes rejection about as well as Kanye West takes the Grammys giving T-Swift the award.

In fact, would it be a reach to call David Benjamin the Kanye of the literary world? Maybe? Eh, I’ll go with it.

Now, I won’t get into all the ugly details (just make sure you visit the blog to read the train wreck for yourself. It could save your career) but let’s just say he knowingly didn’t follow the clearly stated rules of a writing conference, got his 319th rejection, and ran to his blog to throw a tantrum. He was condescending to her, questioned her ability to do her job due to her age/boredom/attitude, questioned whether or not she even wanted to do her line of work, mocked her appearance and choice of clothing, and talked about her like she was an ignorant, weak, sad little girl. Basically put, he’s not only an ass… he’s a chauvinistic ass.

What’s even more mind-boggling is that she is not his only target. In fact, there is a thread on his blog completely devoted to trashing every agent that rejects him, though he is noticeably worse on the females. That being said, why would you very publicly attack the people you are literally begging to validate your life’s work?

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And before you start on that, yes… we very much are begging for validation of our work with every critique, every query, every breath, every word. We feed off of it. It fuels our egos—cause you have to know that writers are pretty egotistical creatures when we are shouting, “Look! Werds! I wrote them! Pay me for them! They are exquisite werds! The werdiest werds to ever werd! What? No? LuLz, okay, thanks anyway! I’m just gonna go cry into a bottle of whiskey now.”

Wait. That’s just me? Oh…

Seriously, though. Let’s just put the whole it-doesn’t-cost-you-anything-to-just-not-be-a-raging-douche-canoe thing to the side for a moment, and focus on the real brain-tickler here.

You want an agent to help you get your foot in the door with a publisher. Do you really think they are going to hold the door for someone who throws bullshit at them and then tries—note I said tries. I do gotta say, I really love the writing community when they band together to defend someone—to not only humiliate them, but completely bully them? No. No, they aren’t going to jump at the chance to work with a complete and total twat-knuckle.

To make it in this business, you need a little humility. Say it with me for the David Benjamins in the back:

HUMILITY

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This is a mantra I, myself, have to repeat everyday in my journey. As it is, I have made the gut-wrenching decision to pull my first book from Amazon to give it a thorough overhaul… again. Having humility in my craft is what allows me to see when I could do something better and give it more attention. My work will never be perfect in my eyes, but it will only get better with each tweak.

It’s okay to believe in yourself. It’s amazing to believe in your work. It’s not okay or amazing to have such an over-inflated ego that you think it’s okay to mock and ridicule anyone who dares to defy your beliefs of being the greatest writer in the history of the world holding the next masterpiece in your sweaty, run-down fingers. I mean, you very well might be just that, but no one is ever going to know if you unload a clip of self-damning venom into the foot of your career.

 

 

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