Beware the false devils of other people's anxieties, insecurities, and petty jealousies that they try to project onto you. If you hear negative messages about yourself repeatedly, especially from people who are very significant to you, like your parents or closest friends, they can worm their way under your eardrums and hijack your own inner voice with their damaging scripts. Once internalized, they can sound like fundamental truth, but they lie as shamelessly as the false angels of your ego do.
Don't listen to those who fear your competition because they feel threatened by your talent, your passion, or your persistence.
Don't listen to those who would betray you just to keep you down in the crab bucket that they themselves are too afraid to escape.
Don't laugh with people who are laughing at you in a mean way. It's healthy for your friends and mentors to keep you humble with constructive criticism, friendly ribbing, and gentle teasing. It's good to maintain your senses of humor and humility about yourself. It's not healthy to let yourself be humiliated by frenemies who aren't really on your team. Don't let anyone convince you to give up on your dreams.
Flip that script and laugh off the haters instead! Don't take yourself too seriously, but don't take ridiculous critics from the peanut gallery seriously at all. Really stop and listen to them--not to what they say about you but what their words say about them. And then giggle it off and get on with your work.
Back in my beginner mind days of learning how to write a novel, I didn't just have fun at my own expense with Brian Griffin jokes, I had a lot of fun with the amateur critics, wet blankets, and wannabe leaders of moral panic brigades that buzzed around the NaNoWriMo communities back in those days, with a post entitled...
Terror Alert NaNoWriMOrange!
NaNoWriMo: Harmless, fun writing exercise... or Socialist plot to destroy America?!?
There are some terrifying rumors circulating the blogosphere, so fellow WriMos, be warned! It is said that the process of encouraging mere amateur humans to free write a large number of words in one month will DEVALUE the AMERICAN NOVEL, BURY EDITORS ALIVE in PILES OF SLUSH submitted by WriMos who mistakenly thought that NaNoWriMo was about getting published in one month, and DESTROY AMERICA.
Furthermore, anyone writing zombie stories should take caution lest bad writing WAKE AUTHORS OF CLASSIC LITERATURE FROM THE GRAVE and cause a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE immediately following NaNoWriMo.
One author asks why people think they can have a noveling month when there isn't a violin playing month or an oil painting month. Because that would be absurd. WHAT IF THERE WERE MONTHS FOR MUSIC AND VISUAL ARTS?!? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
Another anti-NaNo blogger writes that "the democratization of art is the worst thing that has happened to America in the past twenty years."
I mean, we're talking, worse than terrorist attacks and wars and H1N1 and EVERYTHING.
I don't know about you, but I'm scared as hell. I don't want people's brains to be eaten by the zombie remains of Nathaniel Hawthorne. DO YOU? And I SURE don't want America's sensibilities destroyed by amateur writing. If lots of people write on their own time, privately, on their own computers, pounding away like primitive apes at their keyboards, it will cause a DEVALUING of the QUALITY of the American novel in the minds of consumers and in editors' assistants' inboxes. I don't know about you, but I always appreciate an art form FAR LESS when I learn about it and attempt it myself. If writing is something we can DO OURSELVES, how will we EVER WANT TO READ GOOD BOOKS AGAIN? Can you IMAGINE a world in which BAD NOVELS became BESTSELLERS?
Oh NO. One blogger even points out the horrific reality that some mothers are encouraging their CHILDREN to write stories alongside them during NaNoWriMo. "What's next?" one blogger asks. "FETUSES writing novels?" OH, THE HUMANITY!
Be careful, WriMo friends. America is at stake.
By the way, I am at 14,500 words. That's 14,500 words closer to the annihilation of writing elitism. And I've got my zombie bat ready.
Jean Michelle Miernik is the author of Leirah and the Wild Man: A Tale of Obsession and Survival at the Edges of the Byzantine World, available through your local bookstore on October 23, 2021 and in ebook formats on November 11, 2021.