I am the redheaded stepchild of my writers' group. Truly. Never mind that I hold a degree in English or that I've been published twice with two more projects under contract. What taints my credibility, you see, is my genre: Romance. In fact, one "person" had the audacity to say romance hardly qualifies as a genre. She's lucky I didn't let the air out of her bouffant hairdo.
One man repeatedly chants his anti-romance mantra, "Boy finds girl. Boy looses girl. Boy gets girl." He writes for newspapers. Yeah, we all know what direction the future of those rags are going.
I shared a chapter of my current WIP once a month. Last Tuesday I read. One lady, known for her "Oh, I don't like this word," scrunched her nose and asked, "Why would you say 'his breath fluttered her hair and caressed her cheek'? What's that all about? I wouldn't find that romantic at all. Who wants a man breathing all over your face?" The muse on my shoulder hissed, "Ask her if she's frigid."
We had three new people in our group that night. One of our regulars asked if any of them wrote romance. When they all shook their heads, the woman. who has yet to write word one, breathed, "Thank God."
Listen to me. I sound bitter, don't I? I'm not. Just concerned about my growing dislike for the group. I don't think anyone should remain where he or she is belittled. I don't know how much longer I can remain. Yet, the thought of leaving the group saddens me since I was one of the three organizing members.
Still, I'm not sure how emotionally healthy staying is for me...romance writer of the thin skin. I suppose I have a choice to make. Either stay and stop sharing parts of my current project or leave. Because I think I've endured my last night of four or five people trying to out shout the other to point out what they perceive to be worthless writing.
I wouldn't want you to remain in such a situation. I'd encourage you to go where you're more appreciated. Shake their dust off your feet and keep on truckin'--and, yes, that WAS a cliche.
Having vented about my hurt feelings, I wish for all of you a 2012 of feeling valued, growing in your craft and helping others achieve their dreams. Writers need to encourage each other, no matter what genre we write.