I’m sure every writer goes through this, times of doubting their writing and feeling discouraged. While working on the first draft of my third book, I keep finding myself wanting to rewrite Sacred Blood to make the male lead protag into a Christian Grey character. I fully believe the writers whose advice to other writers is “just write for yourself” only say that because they have nothing more to offer. If I was writing purely for myself, I’d be writing a different type of story altogether!
The persisting popularity of books that feature abuse is hard to handle sometimes. There are many days when all that keeps me wanting to write is the love I have for this little girl.
I know my writing, and what I stand for in wanting abuser to cease to be considered to be romantic, isn’t going to make any real impact, especially when the books that keep getting all the notice are the ones where the “heroes” are abusers. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to make an attempt at making a difference, but it sure does make me wonder if I could be doing something else, like maybe suck it up and write that abusive crap with lots of abusive, non-consensual sex, and if those get mainstream notice, then put out the kind of books I want to write. But I couldn’t live with myself if I did that. I can’t sell out.
So I sit here thinking maybe I should give up writing my own books and instead dedicate that time to trying to debunk the romanticism ideas in books about abuse, and trying to find wants to bubble-wrap my daughter and install alarms around her to alert us all if a predator is getting to near to her. When 35% of women have been the victims of abuse, the odds are just plain high enough that I feel sick to my stomach. Whenever I see her and two of her friends together, I can’t help but think about how at least one of them in statistically likely to be abused by a partner, and while I hope it’s not my daughter, I’m left with the sinking realization that I have to hope that one of those other innocent kids is the one hurt instead. It’s sickening, and I feel angry at myself for it.
But I feel angrier at the readers who demand the idealization of abuse, and I’m angrier still at the writers who feed it. If readers are like kids demanding cake for every meal, then writers are the parents who can either indulge, or say no, here’s something that isn’t likely to lead to an early dead from whichever diabetes is is that can be triggered by too much sugar.
As I write this, it’s 6:46 pacific time. Im watching my daughter play with a bracelet-making kit, ignorant of how the world operates, and what the adults in this world think is acceptable, and I get so mad that the adults who should be wanting this world to be a better place instead help make it worse by saying Christian Grey, Edward Cullen, and so many others, aren’t abusive, who the go off and ask how we can have a world where Rhianna goes back to Chris Brown repeatedly…while women also say they’d let Chris beat them. I get furious because they’re helping make the world more dangerous for my daughter, her friends, your own little girls, and they’re even setting young boys up to be sex offenders with the clear message that abusive behavior is good.
I can’t combat it by myself. My books won’t make a bit of difference at the end of the day. I’m treading water as hard as I can, but feel like I’m taking two steps back for every one step forward. I don’t know if I should quit writing to save my energy and redirect it to something else, or what I should do. I’m lost right now, because I feel that trying to fight back the adoration of abusers is a lost cause.