When They Don’t Understand Your Stories

by James L. Rubart

This past December, just before dinner, Darci went outside, broke
off a couple of icicles hanging from our roof and popped them in our water
glasses.
“You are brilliant,” I told her.
I thought it was so creative I posted a photo on Facebook.
After posting, I mentioned to Darci, “There will be a lot of
people who think you are creativity personified, but at least a few who think
you just did something shockingly unsanitary.”  
I was right. Ninety-nine percent of the comments raved about
how fun the icicles as ice cubes were, but there were a few comments about how
disgusting the idea was because all the germs and bacteria on our
roof were now in our water glasses.

The Reality
From a factual, scientific perspective, those people’s (and
yours and my) kitchen sink and sponge next to that kitchen are filled with far
more grotesque and deadly bacteria than would ever come off a roof.  
But that fact doesn’t matter. What matters is how those
people see the idea of icicles in water glasses. They just don’t get it.

And That’s Okay!
Really, it’s okay that they don’t get it. Their opinion is
valid. It’s how they feel. 
Not a bad thing in any way.
Not everyone is going to like same movies, books, plays,
food, TV shows as you do. Have you ever told a friend about a movie and had
them say, “Uh, I didn’t get it.”
“What! How could you not love that movie!”
The problem isn’t that people don’t always get the same
things we do, the problem comes when we start changing our behavior, based on those
who see things differently than us.
The problem comes when someone doesn’t get your story
(agent, editor, friend, spouse, reader) so you change your story. Soften in a
few areas. Beef it up in others. Snip and nip and tuck till you think it will
please everyone. 
But of course it pleases no one.
Decision By Committee
My friend—and Novel Marketing podcast partner–Thomas Umstattd
says, “Decision by committee is the no-fail way to obliterate a creative idea.” (Here’s the episode if you’d like to know more about how making marketing choices via committee hurts you.)
I’m not saying not to get input from a FEW trusted advisers.
I am not saying you don’t need editing from a macro and micro level. But I am
telling you stay with your vision. 
Stay with the story that is a little bit out
there, different, hasn’t been done before. 
Stay with your dream of writing that
story the naysayers tell you can’t get published. (Exactly what I was told
about my first novel Rooms.)
The hard reality is stories aren’t rejected most of the time
because they’re different, they’re rejected because the writing isn’t strong
enough. We have seen new genre after new genre created because a writer wouldn’t
give up their vision.
So dream your dream. Follow your vision. Smile at those who
don’t get it and keep writing.

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older
man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and
dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys
they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the
best-selling, Christy BOOK of the YEAR, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award
winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker. During
the day he runs his branding and marketing company which helps businesses,
authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with
his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com