I love this gig. Being a writer is the absolute shit. People have paid me--or promised to pay me--for putting words together. And sometimes I put words together and the things I've managed to say are actually awesome. I started a new story this weekend, and let me tell you: I love it. (I'll probably hate it before I get done editing, but that's just the way the editing process works. I mean, it's supposed to work like that.)
Not every thing about writer is terrific. There are times when I get frustrated by my inability to rock the words. There are times when the publishing industry pisses me off. And there are DEFINITELY times when the genre community pisses me off. Last week, I saw a lot of jackasses trying to explain why they weren't racist or sexist as they screamed and wailed in an attempt to defend the white boy status quo.
I tried to come up with a really good post about what I felt, and maybe I will figure out the right words someday. In the meantime, I think Ian Sales said it best in one of his comments on the SFSignal discussion on sexism: "If you support the status quo, you are sexist. End of story." You can replace "sexist" with "racist" for equal effect.
You know, every single one of us has unconscious biases that come out in our work. What we owe the world isn't our apologies, it's opening up our worlds to each other. When you know people of other races and you have positive experiences with them, you don't write bigoted work. When you know awesome LBGTQ people, you don't write work that excludes them. When you have a terrific boss that you admire who is a woman, you create fiction that reflects your understanding of women who are men's equals.
You have to open up your head, and you have to make friends. They will make sure that the process of mind-opening isn't as terrifying or painful as you fear it will be. (And yeah, it's scary. It's not easy being vulnerable!)
Plus, your friends, new and old, will help cheer you up when your words get rejected. They'll give you a pep talk when you aren't writing as fast as you like. They'll make sure you get back to your hotel room when you get sloshed at the con.
And they'll make sure you know about Nyan Cat so you, too, can have the song stuck in your head.