When you look at the picture, you'll probably think, "Is he still on baseball?" Well, yes and no. I'm talking today about arguing. Public arguing. More specifically, collegial back-biting and sniping.
Just because a writer is a member of the "Christian writing" community doesn't mean he will have the same view on all aspects of writing as every one of his colleagues. On the contrary, we're all different, and that's what makes our writing unique. But it's not unreasonable to expect that, because of our Christian worldview, we'll be civil in our dealings with others. When that isn't the case, it's disappointing.
When I first became involved in Christian writing, it didn't take me long to recognize the authors and editors whose opinion I valued and whose advice I wanted to seek out and take seriously. Toward this end I began checking out their blogs. Most of them published information that I found very helpful as I attempted to mature in my writing, and I looked forward to reading their postings. I suppose that my favorite site became the Charis Connection, with postings from a number of experienced and respected authors. But recently, I've found myself reaching for the antacid after reading some of the comments that were generated.
It's tough to condense the answer to a difficult question or to address a thorny writing problem in just a few paragraphs. Add to this the inability of web posts to convey emotions (except for emoticons and the all-pervasive :) symbol, both of which I abhor), and it's easy enough to misconstrue remarks. If the reader is itching for a fight anyway, there is generally enough fuel there to get the fire started. And therein lies the problem. Recently it seems that a group of writers are itching to take umbrage at anything that might conceivably be interpreted as differing from their own opinion, intimating that the opinions of the Charis authors are casting aspersions at their own writing ability.
I won't fan the flames of the most recent debate by taking a side, although I certainly have a strong opinion. Rather, I'd offer this bit of advice. I'm unpublished in fiction, so I think I can be reasonably objective. Sometimes it seems that published authors have it so easy, and it's tempting to take potshots at them. Well, rejection hurts. Writing, revising, submitting, getting your work sent back--it's part of the journey every writer faces, and it can frustrate you. Then the children get sick, unexpected bills come in, it rains every day for a week, and that just adds to your frustration. When I find myself feeling that way, I try to severely limit my web correspondence. Usually, in a day or two I'm better, and I can resume browsing my favorite sites without trying to start a fight with every post that picks at one of my scabs.
And, if there's something that I feel needs to be said, I don't try to preach to somebody else's audience. I use my own blog. And that's just what I'm doing. And I waited a couple of days before doing it.
Now go out there and write something. I'm praying that you succeed in the calling God has given you.