You have figured some things out: The story you want to tell, how you want to tell it, where and to whom to sell it. You have stayed connected while making time for writing.
Now, the most important thing is to stay focused.
Authors are often told not to comment on politics for the danger of losing readers. I don’t entirely buy this—I feel transparency and authenticity matter when interacting with readers. I write happy endings for lesbians, sometimes with a fairy tale wedding. Ask me about my opinion on marriage equality? I will gladly tell you.
I don’t even believe this is the biggest obstacle, because if you write about women who persist and succeed, it’s unlikely that you will attract a lot of MRAs as readers.
Yet, there can be moments when it becomes necessary to step away, for the sake of your sanity and career. I don’t mean the big important subjects. I mean the recurring discussions that inevitably will come up every once in a while, run out of steam and then appear again. Most of us have had this experience: In an online conversation, things can get lost between the lines. Strong opinions and passionate disputes are not necessarily a bad thing, but they can also become draining, especially when there’s no solution and you know, the subject will come up again, with the same points being made. That’s when it becomes drama, and the more distance you can create for yourself, the better.
When this happens, it’s best to remind yourself of your goals, and why you chose this road in the first place, why this is you dream. Pick your battles. Ask yourself if you really want to jump in, and would you or anyone benefit from it?
Hone your observation skills. Take a look at your favorite, successful authors and see how they handle these questions. I think you will find that they usually stay away from conflict for conflict’s sake, but don’t necessarily shy away from a political statement. There’s a difference between what affects all of us, every day, and, well—drama. I enjoy taking part in discussions. I’ve also learned that there’s nothing wrong with creating a space as calm as possible to make sure I get my word count done.
While I’m here, I want to thank the ladies of Women and Words for giving me an opportunity to share my experience, and for always providing a drama-free space.
To the readers – I hope you can take away something for yourself. Thank you for stopping by!