Amid the bustle of changing passwords in various places due to the fact that yesterday my poor computer picked up a virus (which masqueraded as a Security Tool that I thought my husband had installed on the computer, yes, it was my fault and I felt terrible, but my husband was very nice about it and said I hadn't known--from now on unless I know for sure something is on our computer I'm not doing anything with it until I've consulted my husband).
Some time ago there was a big kick up over a (less popular) author suing another popular author claiming this popular author copied them. What ended up happening is that the judge ruled they were two different stories--nothing alike and threw it out. The other thing that happened was that some fans of the popular author investigated and found out that the popular author's book was copyrighted before the one who thought they were being plagiarized. Another thing that happened was that fans of the popular author went and read the other author's book and said there was very little similarities--that they were different enough.
This isn't the first time things like this has happened to a popular (or any) published author.
It sometimes goes another way. A fan plagiarizes an author they like and tries to get the plagiarized story sold and it ends up a bunch of lawyers get involved and the fan is forced to withdraw the plagiarized work.
In a lot of ways I think this boils down to ego. People think they are entitled to things. Not that they are granted rights, or given certain opportunities or given a break--but that they are entitled to that opportunity, right or break.
In writing we're not entitled to anything aside from the right to write stories. We're not entitled to the book being sold or it selling well in stores. We're not entitled to fame or fortune or even anyone recognizing our name on the cover.
These are things that come by way of either someone discovering we've done something amazing, or our own hard work at writing something awesome, selling it well and getting the word out.
These things are not automatic.
As I've said before, writers have to put their ego in the back closet. There's gonna be people who like our work and people who don't. There's going to be highs and lows just like most anything else in life.
The minute we begin to think we're entitled to something is the minute we run into some trouble.
So how does a writer maintain his/her humility?
By recognizing that writing itself is a gift--is an act of inspiration or often times, could be outside themselves (for some it's attributed to God or a grace/inspiration God gives; for others it's the feeling that one has to write and the outside world offers him/her plenty of material).
Most people can write. But there's a select few that write well or can really tell a story. But that should not make us arrogant. Instead it should make us feel honored if we are counted among that select few. It's a gift, not a right to have something sell. It's a gift, not a right if that sold story does well.
The book publishing and selling world is ever-changing so you never know what might just do fabulous and what might flop. It's about putting oneself out there.
So, how do you keep your ego in check?
Have A Tip-Top Tuesday!