My Philosophy on Writers, Readers and Critics

old-booksAfter a very, busy week following my appearance at WisCon 2009, I felt it was time to sit down and share my philosophy toward other writers, readers and critics. In the past, two weeks I’ve met more new people on-and-offline than I have in the past year. Since many people are unfamiliar with me and my work, I thought it best to put into words that which I feel so passionately about…

I believe that both readers and critics, regardless of education or background, have a right to their informed opinion. By “informed,” I mean I would hope they’d read a book before providing an in-depth dissertation about it. Sometimes, I am amazed how deep that rabbit hole of criticism goes. Sure, I have opinions about the books I read (and admittedly a few popular ones I haven’t) but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize how valuable all books are. Even though I might not like a particular story, it might appeal to someone else. In my mind, that’s a win-win scenario for literacy because it means that there’s a story for everyone.

When it comes to my own work, I know that what I write may not appeal to everyone. No one likes crappy reviews or readers trashing their work, because even though writing is a “job” (e.g. you often get paid) it is also an extension of yourself. Immutable and defined, a writer’s published work becomes a testimony not only to the voices we hear in our heads, but the whispers we hear through the trees, in rush-hour traffic, or on the beach.

Writing often gets depicted romantically, as if being an author means that you have finally reached a utopia in which the entire world bows at your feet for your brilliance, your personality and your creativity. Nothing — and I mean nothing — could be further from the truth. Creativity, in any form, comes with a price because creative people think differently from non-creative people. Different for me meant “not like everyone else,” which led to a lot of confusion, personal angst and career building frustration until I started meeting other writers.

Although I have a college degree in writing, it wasn’t until I fell into the gaming industry that I truly felt welcomed. Professional authors and game designers welcomed me as a “new” writer, even though they had no real reason to do so. Their kindness shocked me, because in my past almost everyone I knew viewed other writers as “competition.” This harsh attitude had affected me deeply: for a number of years I was very bitter and negative about anyone else’s success, yet arrogant about my own. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I was not only showed compassion and understanding by perfect strangers, but leads and writing assignments as well.

I’ve been a part of the gaming industry now for six or seven years, and I have not forgotten what a difference positivity makes. A single conversation over beer was the catalyst that helped me transform bitterness into positive energy. It is my hope that I can bring that same kindness that was shown to me by having a supportive presence on-and-offline for other like-minded writers as my time permits.

Part of my long-term goal is to be a novelist (either part-time or full-time), and admittedly I don’t know if that will ever happen. Regardless, it is my belief that celebrating someone else’s successes is just as important as cheering for your own. Only through a sense of togetherness will we build a creative community that supports and helps one another.

Meet Members of My Writing Community

communityPart of the idea of “community” is being able to support one another regardless of whether you have brilliant milestones or crushing defeats. A few weeks ago, I asked the people who follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LiveJournal to sound off and share with me their website or what they were working on.

As I look at this list I am reminded that no matter what I personally enjoy writing or reading, the “act” of writing is something I share in common with many different kinds of people. I’m very happy to introduce this eclectic mix of writers within my social network, and hope that I can do this on a regular basis.

Join me in supporting these writers, and feel free to share with me your own work in the comments below. This is just a small portion of the writers that I’ve gotten to know over the years, so I encourage you to check out who I’m following on my social media accounts to find more about some of the interesting people I know.
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May 2008 Online Auction for Juvenile Diabetes from Novelist Brenda Novak

One of the really cool things I’ve come to enjoy is the ability to not only review books and network with other authors, but to follow up with them and their work. I was in the process of reading up on Yasmine Galenorn (I had reviewed her urban fantasy book entitled Witchling) when I saw that she was donating signed books and other collectibles to raise funds for Juvenile Diabetes. Ms. Galenorn has a vested interest in the auction, as does the founder, romance author Brenda Novak.

Here are more of the auction details:

Online Auction for Juvenile Diabetes

When: May 1 through May 31
What: Raising funds to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. From Brenda Nowak’s site:

all auction proceeds will go to the Fund-A-Cure drive of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (which means it goes directly to research). To find out more about this top-notch charity, visit their website at

Where: Details through Brenda Novak’s Auction Page

Prizes and Raffle: A healthy range of items from both inside and outside the publishing industry; you don’t have to be a fan or a reader to participate. Here is Yasmine Galenorn’s Auction Basket, but there are other items with a broader appeal like a camcorder.

Even if you don’t participate, I hope that this event inspires you to get out there and do something for your community or a cause you believe in. If you hear of any other writers who are out there, “doing good deeds,” please let me know.

Happy scribing!

Monica Valentinelli >

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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