It’s easy to see how it happens, how some writers become divas.
And you know the ones I mean. (I’m not pointing out names here. Hell, my ex girlfriends would probably say I’m a diva before I became a writer.)
So you put your book out there, and people talk about it. That’s cool. People on the internet become reasonably animated. They bicker, they praise you, they slag your work off. It’s taken you a year or more to write a book and someone has blasted through their weekend and is most upset at what you’ve written. White noise and flame wars. You understand why many writers decide to go offline entirely. Everyone has their opinion, quite rightly, and many believe their opinion is objective fact, that you should listen to it. And at first you try…
Your first major realisation is that you must build a wall in your mind to protect yourself. If you listen to a hundred opinions on you and what you’re doing, your mind will bubble over – you simply cannot listen to them all, you can’t please everyone. There are still books to write, from behind the sanctuary of your wall. The wall stops you worrying, lets you concentrate and get on with writing (remember that?).
Once you’re behind this wall though, it’s easy to believe yourself, rather than believe in yourself. Behind the wall, there’s largely your own voice, telling you to get on with writing, that you’re good enough. If that’s the only voice you’re listening to, then you’re in big trouble too. You might start to ignore editors, or forget that you write to be read – you know, by real people. Pretty soon you’re kicking off on forums because people don’t get your latest magnum opus. (How can they not understand you?) Or worse, you kick off on Amazon about it.
It’s a very fine line between protecting yourself, and divahood.