I’m going to take something funny from Iraq and turn it into a life lesson for writers (myself included). There is a point to this, I swear.
I made the latrine wall. There’s no doubt it was me because, heh, they used my name. They said I was a reject. Okay, so not really a painful jab like: LT is a dirty slut or something more creative but it was there in black and bad penmanship for everyone to read.
I’m leaving it up.
I’ve been pretty good about policing the latrine for the year and the two other times I had to break out the spray paint were the only times this year that it was required.
I’m leaving my reject comment up.
It’s going to make me a better author.
No this isn’t going to teach me to write like Poe or any of the greats.
It’s about the heat that’s going to come when I become a published author. I write about soldiers. I write about Iraq and the things that soldiers have done. I’m not pulling my punches. I can wish all day long that I wasn’t a blunt person but at the end of the day, I’m writing what speaks to me and the experiences I’ve gone through and other soldiers have gone through.
I know that not everyone is going to like what I’ve written. I know that there will be people who know me who think I’ll have gotten things wrong or something else that will they will take viscerally to heart. And there will be negative blog comments and negative personal attacks.
I’m sure of it. I’ll have fellow officers question me and my ability to be a writer and an officer. I’ll have fellow females call me a tramp for writing about sex.
I know it will happen because it already has. At every single duty assignment I’ve been to, I’ve been accused of sleeping with someone. I never have but that doesn’t stop the rumors. A good friend of mine was almost divorced because someone accused him of sleeping with me. Really? Wow.
My point is, the rumors are going to be there. They always have been. The dislike and the virulence is going to be there. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing the books that speak to me, just like I’m not going to stop being the officer and the leader that I am. I make mistakes. You’ve read about a lot of them here because I hope people can at least learn from the mistakes that I’ve made along the way, both as an officer, a soldier, a working mom and as a writer.
I’m not perfect. I have a hard time telling people the truth but when it’s really important, I’m certainly not going to post a comment on the latrine wall. In my opinion, that’s like posting a vicious attack online and doing it anonymously.
So I’m leaving the reject comment up, just like I’m going to try and deal with negative online comments and negative backlash. You can’t help what people think. You can only do the best you can, learn from your mistakes and try to grow as a person in whatever role you’re in.
The comment will stay and I’m going to look at it every day and laugh about the immaturity of the person who wrote it because they lack the courage to say it to my face.