To say that I dislike snobs is an understatement. A HUGE one. Maybe it has something to do with moving every two years of my life and always having to reintegrate. I got good at picking out the snobs. Maybe too good.
The writing world is filled with all types of characters. Nice. Young. Crabby. Stinky. You name it. But the demographic I’d like to talk about today are the ones who look down their noses at would-be writers. Are you one of them?
What’s A Snob?
Merriam-Webster says a snob is: “someone who tends to criticize, reject, or ignore people who come from a lower social class, have less education, etc.”
In the literary universe, these take the form of traditionals looking down on indies, or the grammar police looking down on ‘hacks’ without mad skills.
They peruse the assembled masses, picking and choosing who might be worthy, hoping for none.
What’s A Snark?
Merriam-Webster defines snarky as: “ sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner.”
We’ve all read work by snarky writers who’ve cast aside the rules and developed their own way. These are the rule-breakers, the free spirits. They don’t take themselves too seriously and even throw in a dash of self-deprecation for effect.
The ones I’m talking about are not bad people, but because of their irreverent behavior they sometimes get lumped in the snob category.
Why Does It Matter?
I won’t pretend that one group isn’t better than the other. You can tell by my tone which way I lean.
The reason I even bring this topic up is because as we attain a certain level of expertise with our writing, it’s easy to look around and compare.
Comparison is fine, but openly hostile critiquing is something else.
In a world where anonymous trashing is, for some reason, considered kosher, we’re invited into the realm of snobbery. Technology makes it easy to say mean things about others and their work because of the magic shield that exists between you and the person thousands of miles away.
To call a writer’s work, “Awful” “The worst thing that’s ever been written.” “So juvenile even poor orphan Annie wouldn’t read it.” It’s just mean.
When does it stop?
Criticize At Your Own Risk
Here’s my suggestion: Be humble and accepting.
You won’t like everyone’s work, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a snob about it.
If you start a book and don’t like it, stop reading. No one’s putting a gun to your head!
I’m a firm believer in what’s goes around comes around. (Wait. Did I just use a cliche? Shame on me! I shouldn’t be a writer!)
That’s why I love The Write Practice. We come from all over the world. We have varying levels of experience.
But that’s cool. It’s what’s so special about this place. It’s what led me to email Joe and ask him about becoming part of the team.
This is a place to learn and help others.
I like the house that Joe Bunting built.
It ain’t shiny, but it’s sturdy.
It ain’t fancy, but it’s clean.
It ain’t Paris, but it’s home.
Instead of critiquing, let’s focus on uplifting. Trust me, it’ll leave a better taste in your mouth.
Have you ever played the snob?
For the next fifteen minutes, write about a child who figures out that critics don’t matter and that he/she is free to ignore them.
Post your practice in the comments section below and please provide positive feedback for your peers.