I’m Not Perfect

I don’t often write posts of a strictly personal nature but I need to get a few things off my chest. I’m not perfect.

I’m not a perfect writer – that’s why we have drafts and revisions and even then I find typos in my published works.

I’m not a perfect wife. My husband and I have a happy, devoted, loving marriage. And we fight, a lot. I cry a lot.

I’m not a perfect mother. I swear in front of my children, listen to music that isn’t exactly kid friendly, and lose my temper, a lot.

I’m not a perfect introvert. I love talking to people at trade shows and flea markets and street fairs. I like direct sales parties, and birthday parties, and BBQs – in small doses. But at the end of the day I need to sit with my writing or my knitting, and not deal with real people for a while. The longer the better. And most of the time I’d rather live in my own head.

I’m not even really a perfect ME. I’m scared of some of the things I think. I’m scared of some of the things I do. I’m forever second guessing my likes and interests.

I’m not a perfect person but this doesn’t make me a bad person. Or a bad mom. Or a bad writer. Or a bad wife.

I want to be better. I want to remember to do the housework without being nagged. I want to be better at talking to people I see everyday. I want to have more patience. I want to understand extroverts. I want to be better! But I’m stuck in a tough spot. I’m out of ideas on some issues. I don’t know what to do. But I’m also sick and tired of people foisting their opinions on me.

I won’t get into details because it was a misunderstanding, because I happen to like this person an awful lot even though we haven’t known each other very long, yet, and because, for better or worse, I tend to avoid conflict whenever possible BUT something happened. Someone thought I needed advice. Someone didn’t realize that I’ve heard most of it before, that I’m under A LOT of stress, and that under other circumstances I would have smiled and nodded and taken as a sign that they cared. Instead I cried. At work. And was SUPER embarrassed because of it.

Because introverts get embarrassed easily. And they can feel broken very easily. See, I’m not strong willed like my daughter. I’m no push over, don’t get me wrong, but afterwards I break. I carry a lot inside of me, a lot of pain and broken pieces and insecurities, and when someone scolds me or judges me I stick it inside with the rest and I smile and I carry on and at home I cry and I fight with my husband.

Maybe that’s not healthy. But I have a hard time being someone I’m not. This is who I am, this is how I cope, and I don’t know how to change. I think I’m holding very tightly to this way of being because it’s what I know because I reject advice left right and center when it’s about me.

When it’s about my kids I try everything and anything once. I still can’t get my daughter to stop drawing on the floors and walls and couches. I take all her crayons away, she takes the pen from her brother and draws on my couch. She will find a way to do it her way, to get the last word, the last deed, her own way. I don’t want to change her, I don’t want to break her, I want to teach her boundaries. I don’t want her arrested for painting on the school walls without permission. I don’t want her arrested for taking apart air compressors at gas stations or anything else she comes across.

I want to stop feeling broken and judged, more than anything else. I want to feel like a complete person again. I want to feel like me again. Instead I feel like a mask taped to a broken doll. As long as I smile and make small talk and laugh along with everyone else you won’t see the cracks and I can go home and hide in my TV shows and my music and my writing. I want to feel like a success for once. I don’t want to feel like a failure anymore, I don’t want to feel like my dreams are pointless. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being yelled at. I’m so tired I’m ready to say FUCK IT and walk away. But I can’t. I can’t because I can’t afford it. Just like I can’t afford to take a sick day. And I can’t afford to stay up until midnight writing blog entries (but I do it anyways).

This didn’t go where I wanted it to but I’m going to leave it out here because I think it’s more honest than I intended. Maybe not as graceful or poetic, but certainly honest. And if people are going to see me different because of it, maybe it’s for the best. I don’t like pretending after all.

 

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Pet Peeve of the Day

We’ve all got ’em, those little things that other people do that just drive us crazy. The list used to include things like cracking knuckles, picking at your teeth, chewing too loud, those little tics people have, a word you hate (want some nice moist cake anyone?), an overused or misused word even. It was that thing that made you growl or grit your teeth. Now, with internet and social media, the list is getting longer for a lot of people.

Bad grammar, bad spelling, intolerant opinions, having opinions at all …. I’m not even going to try to list them.

Personally, repetitive mistakes or multiple mistakes in an article or post can throw me off a little. I’m less likely to respond, less likely to take the matter or argument presented as serious, but if you want to present that persona, that face, to the world, that is your choice. I feel it makes you look and sound unprofessional but as someone who worked with EAL children I recognize some of the mistakes as being a sign that the writer isn’t a native English speaker. When I do correct people it’s because I know them and know they will take the correction in good humour.

I don’t like trolls but I do not stoop to their level. And I love opinionated people. So what is my internet pet peeve of the day?

Spamming.

And I’m not even talking those cheap sunglasses or the “promoted posts” that pop up on Twitter or even the “This site will promote your book and it’s free to join” thing that people comment on book links in ad groups. I’m not talking ad groups either. If the point of the group is to share links to books then share a link to your book!

I’m talking about people who use their social media accounts exclusively as ad delivery systems. Because that’s not the point.

I read somewhere about the “rule of 3s”. Not the photography framing thing – the proportion of ads to content in your posting. The theory put forward here is that you have 3 categories of stuff you should be posting: personal and project updates, article and meme sharing/recommending other people, and self-promotion. The theory further suggests that by balancing these three types of posts you build connections with your audience and they are more receptive to your self-promotion posts when they do pop up.

This isn’t a matter of counting and doing posts in order. It’s a matter of balance. Most people understand that as a project nears release date you’re going to do more self-promotion and during periods of intense creativity you’ll be reposting articles you find elsewhere more than anything else. I tend to mostly post and share memes, articles, other people’s blogs, reviews I write about other people’s books, commentary on issues I am passionate about … that sort of thing. When I have something interesting to say about a project I share it. I hope that people enjoy the content I share enough to at least glance at my self-promotion stuff when it does come up.

But I know people who don’t follow this type of online platform building etiquette. Facebook tends to group posts that share the same link so I can see when a person shares the same link every fifteen minutes for 2 straight hours. Facebook lumps them together on my timeline. When I visit this person’s twitter profile there is nothing there but the link to their book over and over and over again. Yes, the posts are only once or twice a day, but that’s all you ever see from them.

The online world is one of disconnect. We stare at screens instead of talking to people. And as a result we go looking for connections. The celebrities we admire most are not just the ones who are talented but the ones who interact well with their fans (JK Rowling comes to mind, as does Neil Gaimen). Honestly, that’s the type of writer I want to be, successful, sure, but with a devoted fan base who asks me questions, and I plan to answer them, to talk to them and converse with them. I don’t want to make my few fans angry because I’m bombarding them with ads for the same book over and over again. They won’t buy the book because I show them the ad a hundred times. They’ll buy it because they know me, they are interested in me, they trust me (perhaps) and are willing to take a chance on my book.

I think it really boils down to making a choice. Are you going to stand on your internet corner and scream at the crowds as they walk by, ignoring you? Or are you going to sit at your table, smile at people, talk to them about the weather, the government, the community, and maybe your book too? I’ve worked fairs and flea markets, I know what works better in the long run. And I’m in this for the long haul. I’ve got time to make connections. I know the choice I’m making.

Schedules, schedules, schedules

Schreyer Ink Publishing

Our most out and about author is Casia Schreyer. If you would like to chat with her or pick up one of her books here is her schedule:

May 1st – Kids Help Phone Walk So Kids Can Talk Walk-a-thon – Duckworth Center Gym at the University of Winnipeg, 400 Spence St. 10am – 2pm. You do not have to be a registered walker to stop in a say hi. Registration for walkers starts at 10am.

May 7th – Author Fair hosted by Winnipeg Public Libraries – Millenium Library. Like all public library programs this is free to all.

AUTHOR TALKS: 11 am-12 pm
Local authors speak on their personal experiences writing, publishing, self-publishing and more: Patricia Robertson (City of Orphans, The Goldfish Dancer); Daniel Perron (Dancing Gabe: One Step at a Time); Elizabeth Murray (Holding Onto Mamie); and Melinda Friesen (Enslavement).

BOOK FAIR: 2-4:30 pm
*Thirty-five authors and counting!…

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And the Point …

Respect, people. That’s what this has all been about.

When we talk about stereotypes against women, men, minorities, ethnic groups ……… we are talking about lazy short hands used to group people so we don’t have to form individual opinions about individual people and so we don’t have to look for reasons. “Of course he’s stingy, he’s Mennonite”, “I should have expected that from you, all women are emotional and irrational”. The list goes on and on.

We don’t want to consider that he was poor as a child or that she lost her mother yesterday and isn’t in a frame of mind to respond to anything rationally. It’s easier to pass it off to stereotypes and walk away.

As writers we use stereotypes as a shorthand. “She was blonde” invokes a specific type of person, ditzy, air-head, vain. Saying “she was a dumb blonde” is easier than showing her personality. Glasses equal intelligent. Gay equal feminine. Native American equals drunk. Black equals gangs.

It’s not true, but writers use stereotypes to quickly invoke a set response from readers, an incorrect response, but a predictable one.

But that means that writers are supporting a culture of rape, violence, and racism (depending on the stereotype they present). It’s up to us as writers to treat each and every one of our characters with respect. Take the time to discover their motives and personalities. Go beyond the surface, the stereotype, the easy way out. Create something that is more true and honest than the stereotype. Show that people exist outside of stereotypes.

Literature, and its modern “counter parts”, film and video games, shape the cultural lense. As writers we control that shaping. We can bring an honesty and open-mindedness to the world. We really can.

Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence

The Belle Jar

1.

I am six. My babysitter’s son, who is five but a whole head taller than me, likes to show me his penis. He does it when his mother isn’t looking. One time when I tell him not to, he holds me down and puts penis on my arm. I bite his shoulder, hard. He starts crying, pulls up his pants and runs upstairs to tell his mother that I bit him. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about the penis part, so they all just think I bit him for no reason.

I get in trouble first at the babysitter’s house, then later at home.

The next time the babysitter’s son tries to show me his penis, I don’t fight back because I don’t want to get in trouble.

One day I tell the babysitter what her son does, she tells me that he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t know…

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It Goes Both Ways

Ah. The entry I meant to write before getting derailed by a troll.

My last few entries have been dealing with stereotypes and respect. Women are just people, with individual desires and interests, just like men. Don’t use race as a shorthand for a stereotypical character (tech smart Asians, drunk Indians, sex-crazed men). In our lives, and in our writing, it boils down to individuality, avoiding stereotypes, and respect.

And it goes both ways. I chose to write mostly about women because I am a woman. These are the issues that affect me directly and concretely. But I’m happily married and so I see the affects of the double edged sword all the time. The double standards hurt men too.

I will not be able to touch on all of them here, I probably don’t know all of them.

Husband shaming. Husband dehumanizing. Husband infantilizing (not a word I know). My husband is my partner. He is intelligent, he has more than the common share of common sense, he is a good father, a hard worker, and a kind man. I do not use terms, sayings, or memes that downplay his role in my life. I did not train my husband to cook or do dishes though I have taught him a few tricks in the kitchen (he bakes better bread than I do and I didn’t have anything to do with that!). I didn’t train him to do laundry either. You train dogs. You don’t train husbands. He’s not my child. When he’s with the kids he’s with them, not babysitting them. Yes, I leave him written reminders, he works hard, he works long hours, he’s asked me to write things down for him and I do. That doesn’t make him stupid. I am not always right. He doesn’t have to be miserable because I’m miserable.

To be fair, we both have a good laugh at some of the more creative memes that play on relationship stereotypes because they are fun and can be presented in good humour.

Physical contact. I played full contact football. If I got hit it was my own damn fault for being out there. I knew what the game was about. I didn’t get to whine or bitch because “you hit me, you can’t do that I’m a girl.” Too many girls expect this double standard and while I don’t condone abuse or violence, they need to smarten up or they’ll get hit back. Yes, typically most boys and men are stronger than the girls and women in their age bracket. Yes, my mother-in-law, in her prime, a hard-working farm woman, was probably stronger than a lot of teenage boys. But for the most part males are physically bigger than females. So we teach them not to hit girls. But when a girl winds up and punches a guy, be he a friend or a boyfriend, and then she laughs and says “What you gonna do? You can’t hit me, I’m a girl.” He can hit her. If she can resort to senseless violence so can she. This idea that women’s actions are free from repercussion doesn’t fly with me. I do believe in “turn the other cheek” and I don’t ever condone violence so I’d prefer it if he dumped her cold and walked away but yes, if she’s being a violent bitch, he can hit her back.

NO I DON’T CONDONE ABUSE. I DON’T GIVE MEN PERMISSION TO HIT ANYONE. I DON’T GIVE WOMEN PERMISSION EITHER. THAT’S MY POINT.

Sexualized ads. We’re fighting to see a decrease in women’s body’s, particularly breasts, being used to sell products. And then we’re not allowed to post breast feeding photos. Right. Well, the same goes for men too. We can’t use sexy male bodies to sell romance novels if we want them to stop using women’s bodies to sell … everything.

And while we’re on the topic of sex, not all men are sex-addicts, porn addicts, etc. They don’t think about sex all the time. They don’t even think about sex the entire time they’re alone with a woman. No jokes. No punch line. Men are intelligent, just like women, and can and do have interesting, deep thoughts much of the time.

BBQs, fishing, hunting, video games … men have individual interests. Used to drive me crazy at Father’s Day because my dad didn’t really need any tools, he didn’t BBQ, hunt, or fish, and when I was growing up video games were Nintendo 64 and he wasn’t into that sort of thing. So what could I buy him?

Stereotypes, tropes, and short hands hurt people, they are lazy marketing, lazy writing, and lazy thinking. And they don’t just target women or racial minorities.

Trolled!

I don’t think I should be this excited but I kind of feel like being trolled by a woman-hater is a badge of honour. I’ve hit a certain level of reach and readership. I’ve hit a delicate subject in just the right way. Whatever it was, I got trolled!

In a previous entry I discussed the difference between men who are persistent but respectful in their pursuit of a female’s affections and men who are abusive assholes. In that blog I used two examples: the first the stereotypical “good guy” who stands by his female best friend, supporting her unconditionally in the hopes of her noticing him. I even went so far as to say that sometimes they fall in love, sometimes he decides she’s only a friend and moves on romantically to another love interest. But he respects her boundaries, the second was the guy who places undo pressure on a female friend, expecting or demanding more attention than she is willing to give. The first example was inspired by that song “I don’t mind spending every day out on your corner in the pouring rain” while the second was inspired by something a friend was going through.

The second entry he took offense to was the one about stereotypes that simplify women into “types”. That article went on to explore some stereotypes that simplify racial groups, and men too.

Here’s the comment, in its entirety, without editing or censoring.

In a way you teach men to support women through bad relationships? Seriously, is that that what makes a man ‘better’? If so, then the man is better off without a relationship. Supporting women through bad relationships, not one but multiple? Seriously? If a woman cannot even respect me that much and uses me as a keeper/foxhole for times when the bad guy fucked and dumped her and expects me to play the ‘nice guy’ and offer her emotional (and even financial and parental too if the bad guy makes her pregnant) support then she can forget about it. You prolly think all men to be dumb – enough to fall for this article!! The ones who don’t must be boy#2? But know what, I know my self-worth, i know I deserve better than these leeches; and I hope most men do, last thing a man needs in his home is a woman of lack of character or integrity as his wife. The title of this article should be: from a man to a mangina! Not that I expect anything saner from a feminazi. And those dating books you talk about athttps://casiaschreyer.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/women-are-just-people/ are not about stereotyping women, they are about how NOT to get used by women, they are about how NOT to get emasculated by bitter, damaged goods with poor experiences in relationships and anti-man attitude (you sound somewhat like that to be honest), those books are about how NOT to agree to a woman’s every assertion regardless of whether it is right or not, they are about why NOT to put women on a pedestal, they are about why NOT not to kiss a woman’s ass all the time and allow her to crawl all over you, they are about teaching guys to have an unique voice and OPINION which maybe different from that of the woman, they are about building self-confidence, they are about being ‘bad’ enough to attract women (even though women don’t confess it, almost all of them fall for bad guys one time or other, and that is a generalization which is true for 99% of women) but not as bad as you describe here – that is not taught in dating books. Lastly they are about protecting oneself from you and your sick kind. Maybe you should take your time to read The Game and other such books (rather than gender studies books) before posting your unfounded assumptions. Maybe then you would get a rare picture about what men ARE, and what men really WANT from women! That is, if you even CARE to learn, which I very much doubt because feminazis (as you have yourself proven in your ‘great’ blog) are often not just arrogant but also closed-minded fools playing the ‘victim card’ all the time. If all else fails you can always get an appointment with your local shrink for further treatment. Bye bye Ms. Feminazi and good luck to all your future ‘misandric’ endeavors.😛

First, I am not trying to teach “men” anything. I was trying to teach writers to avoid certain harmful stereotypes. What he says is legit, if he doesn’t want to support a woman through multiple bad relationships he doesn’t have to. No man should HAVE to do that. But it’s another one of those lovely stereotypes of romance novels that the good guy will wait indefinitely. My article was about two types of men and how they affect women, a narrow topic, and I do want to do an article about stereotypes and tropes that negatively affect men as well.

I don’t believe men are dumb. My father was a computer programmer. My husband fixes trains. Of five brother-in-laws (my sister’s husband, plus my husband’s 4 brothers) one is an app designer, one flies drones for a surveying company, one is studying to be a paramedic/firefighter, and two are farmers who can fix tractors and other vehicles. One of my grandfathers was a carpenter, the other worked in a factory as a supervisor (they made those big rolls of paper). My husband’s sister’s husband works in the surveying field. Many of my best teachers and professors were male. Of all these men most are sociable, friendly, and socially well adjusted, the others I simply don’t know well enough to judge. I don’t believe men are dumb. I believe there are dumb men out there. I believe there are dumb women out there. I believe that on occasion I can be pretty dumb too.

To say that ALL dating books are bad was not my intent, I only mentioned them because they were part of what inspired me to write the article. Just the titles. I will admit that I haven’t read one because the titles don’t appeal to me.

To single men looking for a woman to love and cherish I say this: don’t let her use you. Don’t be an emotional punching bag. Don’t let her play manipulative games with you. But don’t simplify her individuality. She is a person with interests and needs and desires, the same as you. Respect her interests, but if she doesn’t respect you then walk away.

This is my believe. This is my opinion. I am glad that this poster knows his self worth and will walk away from an emotionally abusive relationship.

To presume to know my reading list is arrogant. I am not a student of gender studies. I am a student of literature. The articles I write are intended for writers as advice for their writing and world building, not as dating advice, not as political advice or a political stand-point. I don’t read gender studies books. I am reading books on childhood development because I’m working on my ECE II diploma for work, but that’s the extent of my current non-fiction list. Everything else I read is indie published novels.

To say that any generalization is true even 99% of the time is presumptuous. However, I understand the psychological drive that makes bad boys so attractive to girls. Especially to teenage girls. I understand why the “transformative and redemptive” story arc is so popular in romance novels. So I would have to agree that a majority of straight women have, at one time or another, had a crush, or more, on a “bad boy”.

The rest of this comment is hate-speak. He is lumping me in with a specific group of women, a group I don’t belong to or agree with. Would he be surprised to learn that my husband, when we were dating, threw me in a snow bank? Yup. I challenged him, a cocky teenage challenge, that he wouldn’t dare throw me in the snow. So he did. And when I used to throw silly, attention-demanding “tantrums” to test his devotion, he didn’t cave, cater, or even wait for me. He never gave in. And I came to respect and love him for it. He keeps me down to earth and honest. I played full contact football in high school, just casually at lunch, and yes, those boys HIT me on the field. I was tripped, slammed into, tossed over shoulders, tossed aside, teased in lewd ways … that was part of the game. I expected it. I didn’t whine when they hit me. I didn’t play the victim card.

I do not consider myself close-minded. I am FOR gender equality. I am FOR marriage equality. I am FOR trans-friendly bathrooms. I let my daughter play firefighter and police officer. I let my son play with my daughter’s toy castle. I have homosexual family members whom I love dearly and will not name here because they are MY family and I also have friends who are not accepting and I will not hand over my family to be ridiculed. If anyone wants to comment with useful information on either side of this conversation I will approve the comment. I approved his comment. I want open conversation because it’s the only way we can learn anything.

To touch once more on the victim card – women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse. Women who are murdered are more likely to be murdered by spouses than strangers. Yes, men are also victims, yes the stigma against male victims is strong, but that doesn’t mean all of women’s problems have disappeared. To acknowledge one is not to deny the other. To speak of one is not to ignore the other. We can converse about both, individually or at the same time. And I encourage people to do that here.

In my mind this person has completely missed the point of my posts. I am not advocating that men submit to women. I’m not advocating female dominance in any field. I am advocating against stereotypes, all stereotypes, and in those articles I address women’s issues. In future articles I plan to address men’s issues too. Which my husband often discusses with me so yes, I am aware of them and sensitive to them. But women’s problems are more immediate and personal for me because of my gender.

And it seems I have entered a larger arena on the matter if I am now attracting trolls to my blog.

Women are Just People

Or rather women are people too. You see there is this misconception that women are an alien species to be deciphered, understood, and even manipulated. We are generalized, categorized, and pegged into holes. And none of that acknowledges the simple truth that we are people. Just people. And we’re not the only sub-group of this varied and beautiful species to experience this.

Let’s start with women because this is the one that affects me directly. I don’t think I need to list examples, there are many, instead I’m going to list the reasons why this has been on the back of my mind for some time now.

  1. Dating guides for men with titles like “How to get laid” “How to talk to women” “How to get a girl” “How to get women to like you”. Because there’s a one size fits all solution to finding a partner for short or long term relationships.

No. Just no. Women are people. Each and every woman has a different set of interests, different hobbies, different personalities. I’ve met women who have zero interest in shoes. I’ve met women who play video games. I’ve met women who knit, crochet, sew, bake, and/or cook. I’ve met women who can’t cook. I’ve met women who NEED a clean house and women (like me) who live in a cloud of disorder.We like different jokes, we like different sports and different sports teams, we like different movies, different actors, different books. We are individuals, people, and the best way to “get the girl” is to talk to her and find out what she likes. Honesty is important too. Don’t lie about what you like so she’ll like you more, it will fall apart. Seriously, try to get to know her the same way you would a guy at the lunch table at work. We’re not scary or alien, we’re people, that’s all.

2. Gamer Girl rants.

You’d think those would go hand-in-hand with what I’m saying but people are getting sick of them. “We get it, girls play video games, shut up”. On the one hand I agree, but on the other hand “Gamer Gate” is still a thing.

For those not familiar with Gamer Gate it’s the ongoing issue of women who play, review, or design video games get trolled, harassed, and verbally abused to the point of receiving death threats, by male gamers. Because women can’t possibly be as serious about video games as men. We can’t be as good at it. We can’t have real opinions about it. We can’t design them. And that is bullshit.

I play video games casually. I’m not a hardcore gamer, I’m not really that good at it. But I enjoy it. And why shouldn’t I? I don’t have to be competitive to enjoy it. I don’t have to be the best to enjoy it. Why should anyone have the right to trample on my enjoyment of a “thing”. There are Bronies (men who like My Little Pony, for whatever reasons) so why can’t there be Gamer Girls? There are stay-at-home dads, male models, male fashion designers, male chefs – so why not Gamer Girls?

Girls are right to stand up for themselves in this arena, but at the same time these rants continue to make an issue out of it. Maybe it’s time to stop ranting and just enjoy our video games our way – whether it’s casually in our living rooms with friends or spouses, or competitively online. Go out and play, for you, not for approval or vindication, or to prove a point. Play, review, create, enjoy. And yes, rant. I won’t stop  you because I don’t think the trolls are going away any time soon.

As I said, women aren’t the only one who experience this. A lot of cultures and sub-groups are stereotyped. Asians? The dudes are always dorky side-kicks, nerdy super-smart techs, or school girls. Seriously, Asians are people. Diverse people with diverse interests. Stop using them as a short hand for super-smart-tech-dorks or sex items.

Not all Natives are alcoholics or hunters or medicine men.

Not all black people are gang members or criminals or primitive tribal people.

Not all blondes are dumb.

Not all red heads have tempers.

Not all men are sex-crazed cave men.

We are people. We are diverse. We need to respect that diversity, in our day-to-day interactions and for writers, in our creating. Stereotypes are lazy short cuts. Create real people, real characters. Through literature and movies and video games we can change public perception on many issues. We’re all people.

Not Giving Up vs Not Taking No For An Answer

For readers who love a love story, and the writers who write them, this is a serious question.

Here’s a scenario for you:

A guy and a girl are good friends. He’s in love with her and she’s blind to it. He suggests maybe they could be more than friends, she firmly friend-zones him. He continues to support her through a series of bad relationships. They have movie nights and he never moves in for the snuggles. His hugs never cross into intimate. He never takes advantage of her when she’s drunk. He’s just there, never giving up that she’ll come around and see that he loves her. And maybe she does. Or maybe he gets tired of waiting, finds someone new, and they stay just friends. Of course in a novel she’d realize he was the only one who ever had her back and show up in the rain, pledging her love to him. Happily ever after.

Here’s another, and this one is true:

Girl gets dumped by boyfriend of roughly a year. They were living together so she’s had to move back in with Mom. A guy friend of hers comes out and says “Hey, I’ve liked you for a long time. You’re single now, maybe we could give it a shot”. She says “I value our friendship to much to risk ruining it with an attempt at romance. And I need some time and space to figure out my life right now.” So, not a total friend-zoning, but definitely asking for time and space. He asks again, and again, every other day. Texts her incessantly. Leaves little blue plastic penises in her jacket pocket (a not so subtle hint that she’s giving him “blue balls” perhaps?). Again and again she says, “I’m not dating anyone for a while, give me some space” and he doesn’t back off. Wants to treat her to lunch. Wants to watch movies and them starts with the hand on her thigh routine. She finally tells him off.

Can you see the difference?

Boy #1 respected his friend’s decision and never pushed. He just steadfastly stood by her. Boy #2 only wanted what he wanted and was not respectful. And this is the difference.

So, is the character in your romance novel a persistent friend? Or an abusive one? Because the guy who won’t take “no” for an answer when the question is “wanna date?” probably won’t take “no” for an answer when the question is “wanna fuck?”. The difference between not giving up and not taking no for an answer is respect.

We all love the idea of the underdog winning. We love to see true love win out over all obstacles. But please, let your persistent admirer the respectful kind.

The Nano Vent Post

Maybe this is going to sound like a flounce post but I need to be completely honest – I’m starting to lose faith in this group. Like Jaime in Rise of the Guardians, sitting on his bed waiting for proof that the Easter Bunny really does exist, I’m sitting here waiting for some sign that the average person can find support in a group like this. My serious questions go unanswered. My self-promos get no likes, no sales, no responses of any kind. I’m not one of the half dozen “chosen ones” who get their promotional links bumped by admins because they are loved.

I wouldn’t be saying this if this was the first time. But I’m sort of nearing an edge. What’s the point of belonging to a writing group if you ask a writing related question and everyone ignores you because there’s a “post your pet” thread posted a minute later? What’s the point of self-promo Friday if we’re all just shouting into the void, unheard? That makes us no better than the mass promo pages.

I’m not an unrealistic person. I understand that everyone likes different genres but there are thousands of members in this group and you’re telling me that not ONE of them likes contemporary realistic fiction? I understand that people can’t always fit a new book into the budget, even when it’s on sale. But I was under the impression we were a group that supported each other, a group that replied to promos with “good luck”s and “looks interesting”s and other such nice things. I thought this was a group where we all wanted everyone to succeed. Can’t buy it? Bump the thread, share it. I get it, it’s Camp Nano, y’all are creating, not reading, but we all brag about TBR piles so buy now read later isn’t a new concept to any of us.

I love this group. I haven’t had the time to do Nano in a while but I stick around because I’ve made friends here, names I recognize. I like to interact with other people, other writers. I offer help, answer questions, answer polls, like pages, follow people on Twitter and then actually interact with their pages and their twitter accounts. But after six years of Nano, and a lot of them spent as a part of this group, I’m starting to feel like “what’s the point?” You can only give your time and attention and support for so long before you feel drained. It’s mutual support that keeps you feeling like you’re a part of the group.

Yes, someone noted that I have a small publishing services “company” and offered to list me in the new group being set up. But again, what’s the point?

I’ve lost faith in writing groups.

But no. I’m not leaving just yet. I just needed to vent.