How Do We Know. Do Others Have The Right? …

Hi All

Stand by your beds because this is a quick, writing orientated blog today.

I guess it all has to do with the genuineness of people. And people in the writing profession in particular.

You see, I think I am a genuine person. If someone asks me something I reply with what I consider to be the truth. If someone asks my opinion I give them my opinion  This can sometimes cause varying degrees of discomfort and/or displeasure because, you see, if someone asks for my opinion that is exactly what they get – my opinion – based on the evidence that I have to hand at the time.

Yes, sometimes I sugar-coat it slightly, especially if the person asking is prone to beating their head against a hard rock at the slightest unkind syllable. But it is still my honest opinion, be it sugar-coated.

I was one of the founder members of a local writing group many years ago. The group started out lovely. Happy virginal writers all there for the same reasons – to grow and produce something worth publishing. Before long one person set herself up as Queen Bee, commenting on people’s work, advising them on this, that and the other. She loved quoting bits from her writing mags, pretending they were her own. In fact she loved the sound of her own voice – period.

She took it upon herself to set stupid assignments that were of little or no value to anyone.  ‘Let’s all write a sentence without using vowels.’ ‘Let’s all jump up and down and wave our knickers in the air!’ OK that wasn’t an assignment but it could well have been. It was along the lines of her usual suggestions!

The person in question came down hard on one member of the group, slamming into her with nasty comments that were of no use whatsoever. The member in question was the best writer in the group. Fact. Not opinion. She is now a published writer.

Queen Bee wrote a load of stilted, old-fashioned crap. No Horlicks needed there. No two ways about it. Just take one of her short stories to bed with you and you’d be in the arms of Orpheus in two seconds flat.  Because of her, the group splintered and members left, myself included. In fact, I left first. I never could, never have and never will, cosy-up to self-centred, big heads who think that they are the meaning of life. Many writers, who didn’t know any better, listened to this woman’s crap, briefly believed it and then abandoned writing altogether. Queen Bee left the group eventually because it wasn’t good enough for her. She needed to hang out with ‘proper’ writers. To this day she still hasn’t produced anything.

How can these people set themselves up as oracles? Hey? Riddle me that, sunbeam. No don’t bother because I’m going to tell you. They set themselves up as oracles because …wait for it …big breath …WE LET THEM.

Do you not think that maybe we should question these Queen Bees? Should we not look at what they are producing before we let them rip our work to shreds and advise us? What if the only things these winged wonders write, on a regular basis, is a shopping list – badly?

If you wanted your house rewiring you would ask for references. If someone turned up at your door wanting to read your gas meter you would ask to see identification (hopefully) so why wouldn’t you question your unfriendly neighbourhood Queen Bee? Why would you let her (I’m using her it could just as easily be he ) give her unqualified opinion on your writing? Because, trust me, unqualified opinions will smash the delicate and  faint-hearted to smithereens. I’ve seen it happen. It happened to me.

There may be some reading this that will disagree with my final comment but I will make it anyway. There is a certain degree of jealousy harboured in these people. They think that if they can keep you down to their level, or just slightly below their level, they will continue to be better than you. And you will continue to worship at their shrine. Well I say don’t!

Ask for advice. Ask for opinion. Ask for help. BUT check the qualifications of the person/persons you are asking – and if they are prone to wearing yellow and black striped sweaters avoid them like the plague. Ah! Now then, is that a wasp? Could be. Wasps are a whole new ball game! But at least you hear those buggers coming …

Loving the likes and comments from you all. We are growing daily. Thank youMB900216946 xxx

Take care my lovelies x

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27 thoughts on “How Do We Know. Do Others Have The Right? …

  1. Best post I have read in quite some time. I’ve known bossy pants people like “Queen Bee” before. They are almost always completely ignorant of their own behaviour, and conceited beyond belief (Sheldon Cooper levels of conceit).

    Anyway… loved the post, and am following your blog off the back of it!

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  2. Hello Gail, I absolutely agree. I have belonged to many writers’ groups over the years and the ‘Queen Bee’ syndrome is common, I think. I also found that the ones who talked most write least. Many people belong to writers’ groups as a way of avoiding actually writing, so they can just talk about it. To me that is akin to 6 people sitting for weeks with a pile of bricks cement and sand, and discussing how to build a house, but never actually doing it. Writing is quite a lonely activity, and lots of folk can;t sit down alone and just get on with it, they have to make it a social activity, which it is not. The Queen Bee should get stuffed. On the other hand writers’ groups are fun to belong to, and I have many good friends who are in the same groups, and can be a source of helpful inspiration, and you meet people with plenty in common. Writer’s circles are great fun, as long as the Queen Bees do not take control.

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    • ‘The Queen Bee should get stuffed!’ LOVE IT!! That made me laugh! And you are so right. I have returned to the group now – on and off. I guess it is the same as in any group – some people you get on with and some you don’t. I just hate big heads! I guess it’s because I am pathetically insecure at times about my writing and prone to believe these people just because they say they are brilliant! My dear mum used to say, ‘Self praise is no praise.’ Love your simile. Sitting with bricks and mortar and discussing how to build a house! Still smiling! x

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  3. That’s one nice thing about a writers conference as opposed to an ad hoc writers group. At a conference like Sewanee or Breadloaf, you get serious advice and constructive criticisms from established writers and teachers while making friends in your peer group. And those peer friendships–as well as the relationships with the established writers–can continue for years, your portable, personal writers group. With no Queen Bees allowed!

    Nice post, Jennie.

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  4. Oh wow! How did you EVER, ever get to read me so closely, hanh? (LOL….gawwd, please don’t take my statement seriously…I’m really not half as useful as a queen bee). You just aired so many damp thoughts squashed away in a dingy corner. And believe it or not, I was going to write a post on fakers tomorrow morning… something that comes quite close to the thought : ) Guess, we do belong to the same hive then, or at least the neighbourhood : ) Great read there!

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  5. Jennie, I constantly thought about one single person I’ve encountered on a writers forum who profiles herself as an authority and would qualify as the queen bee of the queen bees. Hahaha, people worship her but none wonder why she isn’t traditionally published or even has credentials as an editor. I am amazed, but if people choose to close their eyes to the obvious, who am I to try and open them? That would only make me another queen bee. Nope, not me. I’m glad you’ve written this post. Maybe e few who read it will stop and think who they worship.
    Great post. Twittered and FB’ed it and put it up on our G+ Group.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There isn’t a writer’s group anywhere near where I live so I briefly considered the possibility of setting one up myself so that I could be a part of a community of like-minded people, committed to helping each other on the road to writing success. I eventually decided against this because I do not believe i am qualified to lead such a group with having had nothing published myself and very little actually written. I dissuaded myself from starting a group because I didn’t want to be a ‘queen bee’ telling other people how to do something that I haven’t done myself. I want to belong to a group, not lead one.

    Great post Gail. Keep them coming.

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  7. They now adopt a system at the group I sometimes attend whereby the ‘chair’ moves round from member to member, so that no one is ‘in charge.’ If a member doesn’t feel like ‘chairing,’ they don’t. Something like that would work for you. You should consider it?

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  8. I’m not a writer but I have a huge appreciation for writers and I try and unite books with people who will enjoy them. I think judging work is dangerous ground. It takes courage to put yourself out there and all writers grow, with that in mind I think seasoned writers are in a position to nurture. Criticism should be helpful, most of us are qualified to tell a writer how they made us feel as readers. Queen Bees exist everywhere, I often find myself wondering about what insecurity makes them the way that they are.

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  9. In my lifetime I have met many self-elevated queen bees. My philosophy is that people can only influence what you allow them to. I think that tackling the problem early as soon as it surfaces makes for quick resolution. We are all important and have something special to bring to any group. This should also be reflected in the group dynamics. Lovely post 🙂

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  10. Well said! One major reason why I avoid writing/critiquing groups like the plague. I pick my beta readers for their generosity AND talent. If they like something I’ve written then I know I’ve got it right. When they look lost or uncomfortable it’s time for a rewrite.

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  11. Welcome! Ha ha your comment made me smile and nod my head in agreement. When people give you ‘that’ look after reading or listening to something you have written, no words are necessary are they? And isn’t it totally brilliant when you get feedback from someone you respect? I think feedback, good or bad, from someone who has gone the distance and speaks from experience and not a soapbox is priceless. x

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