Kanye West again is blowing minds this morning. I was going to write about something else, but fear tactics were used against me my entire way up as a writer, and it held me down for years.
Don’t say anything about being a republican or a christian, it’ll hurt your brand.
It’ll only turn people off from buying your work if you voice your opinions.
Only a progressive vision can be shown in your works, that’s what people want.
Be more representational. Change the names of your characters. Make sure one of them is gay or trans so people can see it.
These were the messages I’d get all the time from writing critique groups, peers, professionals, editors, sometimes really big names in the industry who were my friends and, true to their fear they tried to inspire in me, are to afraid to actually come out and talk with me now or show that they’re still my friend.
I don’t hate them for their fear, but I pity them. What a world where as an artist, you can’t say what you think, you have to worry all the time, be stressed that a small clique will get angry with you if you even remotely step off the reservation.
It doesn’t matter. There will be the haters, of course there will. You’ve seen how badly they’ve treated me. But there’s an equal and opposite reaction as well, it’s a law of physics. I in turn have the most loyal reader base imaginable, not because they agree with me on everything (do you really think my readers are as jazzed for Kanye West as I am? I take a risk by talking about him positively), but because they know I’m authentic.
Authenticity is what creates the best art. It’s what you’ll be the most passionate about when you write. Be authentic. Be you. That’s the way to resonate and to make an impact on the culture. If you follow the crowd and play it safe, you’re just going to be one of a million other numbers. There’s no reason to do that anymore. The handful of agents/editors out there can’t stop you from success. Only you can stop yourself.
Kanye’s text message he sent out today really shows it all. Even at the highest levels, there’s immense pressure to just back down, don’t risk losing your fans, don’t risk your legacy:
But if you are stopped from being you, from saying what you believe, because of the pressure of fear, are you really making anything worth remembering anyway?
Makes you think.
If you like thinking, and like seeing a world unfold where wrong is occurring, and some individuals learn they need to make a change, you’ll love my new book, The Stars Entwined. Check it out.