I’m going to be honest today–maybe too honest.
Writing didn’t up the way it was supposed to.
But let me back up. For those who don’t know, eight years ago I packed up my life to marry my husband. I moved three hours away, began to telecommute, and started a period of moves, deployments, and TDY’s that won’t end for another who knows how many years. By the time my son turned four, he’d lived in three different houses. Even though I did my best to stay connected, I lost most of my friends from my past life.
It has been, in a word, isolating.
Then I discovered writing. I discovered a whole new world out there–granted, one I created. Outside the house in which I’m usually stuck, there’s a whole group of new people and exotic planets just waiting for me to explore.
And even later, I discovered that there was a community of writers out there on the internet. I jumped in with both feet. I met some great beta readers (and, let’s be honest, some not so great ones) and my amazing critique partner.
I cast my net wider. There SO MANY writers online, y’all. I thought I’d found my people.
Only I hadn’t.
If you’ve read my blog about pantsing, you know that learning my writing process was frowned up was the first hint something was wrong. It snowballed from there.
What do they mean, my work is trope-ish? I wrote what I wanted to read and couldn’t find. Don’t my tastes matter? Come to think of it, why can’t I find existing books that are my taste?
Wait, soft scifi is sneered at? Called a threat to the genre? But I don’t want to write realistic scifi. I don’t care that faster-than-light travel is impossible, especially without relativity concerns. I want to escape learning and science for just this one part of my life.
Why no, I’ve never been interesting in reading <insert famous scifi work>. No, I haven’t seen that <famous scifi movie> either. They don’t interest me. Yes, I know I’m the only one.
Well, yeah, I kind of do like writing and reading about women. And men. And all sorts of weird stuff that I constantly see called out by other writers. Romance? Yeah, it’s a huge part of humans’ lives. I write about it. I read it.
And the writing advice? Oh, the writing advice. About a tenth of a percent of it applies to me, but I see everyone else clapping and applauding something that makes zero sense to me. What’s wrong with my brain?
You get the idea. Almost three years years later, I’m left an outsider in a group that calls itself welcoming and inclusive. That’s not their fault–don’t mistake my statement for an accusation.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a new writer who hasn’t yet earned her place (there’s no certification in writing like there is in flying, after all, one that says you’ve officially arrived). Perhaps it’s because I see things in the writing community that make me ragey, but I don’t care that speaking openly about them is frowned up (the retaliation I see would never be accepted in my professional life, and that’s not something I can shut up about, either). Perhaps it’s just in the fundamental differences in which I’ve always viewed the world–the old thirteen-year-old Anne is still trying desperately to fit in with her peers.
But whatever the reason, I’m on the outskirts of the community.