Look, I think we can all agree that 2020 was a shitshow. Pandemic, murder hornets, quarantine, social injustice and unrest, fire tornadoes...there was pretty much something there for everyone to loathe. But maybe, just maybe, if we all try our hardest, 2021 will be better. I would say "it can't be worse", but I think 2020 taught us NEVER to do that. So, all that said, here's my advice for everyone (or almost everyone at least) on how we can all try to have a better year in 2021:
For the "tone police"
My advice for the tone police (i.e.: those who are quick to tell everyone they should be nice and polite at all times) is to STAND DOWN. Let people have their opinions and express them. The whole "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" business is fine for when your partner gets a haircut you don't like. But for everything else? There's nothing wrong with the truth. No one deserves to be attacked for expressing themselves. If you don't like the way someone expresses their opinion, don't listen to them. Change the channel, block them on social media, leave the room...whatever. Just like it's NONE of your business how other people express themselves, it's none of their business if you choose not to listen to them. It'll be less stressful for everyone if we're allowed to talk about how we feel without having someone trying to shame us for it.
NOTE: That doesn't mean that it's OK to attack anyone--online or otherwise. It's never OK to attack anyone because they have an opinion that differs from yours.
All you journalists out there: it is possible to talk about the romance genre without mentioning Fabio, "guilty pleasure", smut, trash, or bodice rippers. No, seriously! Just take my word for it. Besides, I guarantee that your snide, nudge-nudge-wink-wink hot take isn't as cool and unique as you think. Romance authors and readers have heard it all before, and by going out of your way to condescend to them is both unnecessary and insulting. Try reading a romance that was published after 1985 before you attack the genre, m'kay? If you're well-informed and still hate it, I guarantee no one in Romancelandia will be mad at you. But attack the genre without knowing anything about it other than outdated stereotypes and they WILL come for you...and you'll deserve it.
For all television networks and movie studios
My advice here it twofold:
1. STOP REBOOTING EVERYTHING. There is a wealth of content out there just waiting to be made into shows and movies. Try creating new content based on books instead of doing a reboot of something that ended not that long ago. I have suggestions if you're stumped...
2. Can you PLEASE embrace a happy ending for once? Not everything has to be edgy, and gloom-y/doom-y. You don't have to subvert my expectations by making the ending miserable in order to have written something great. It is possible to have upbeat, hopeful endings. Trust me: audiences will thank you for it. If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that we need to embrace hope and happiness wherever we can find it.
For Gen X-ers
My fellow Gen X-ers...watch Cobra Kai. Trust me. You can thank me later.
For Disney studios
Stop trying to appease the small (but SUPER loud) minority of middle-aged white men who adored everything about the original trilogy (and probably used to jackoff while pretending they were Luke Skywalker). You CAN tell stories that have nothing to do with Luke Skywalker. You can tell non-male, non-white stories without "pandering". Just focus on telling good stories for once, will ya? Get creative. Hire diverse writers and directors to get more perspectives.
And for the love of all that's holy, if you want to make money, bring back Adam Driver as Ben Solo. That is all.
For Star Wars fans
For men online
Don't read your reviews if it will hurt your feelings. Reviews are for readers, not authors. Whining publicly about a bad review will only make YOU look bad, not the reviewer.
Also, if you friend people on social media and immediately follow-up an accepted friend request with a "hey, now that we're friends, buy my book" message, you're an asshole. Same goes for popping up in a conversation about a different book to self-rec your own. Stop it.
For book reviewers
Go ahead and leave that honest book review. Don't worry about hurting the author's feelings--because reviews are for READERS, not authors.
And please DNF that book you're not enjoying. Life's too short to spend even a minute on a book you hate. It doesn't make you a quitter. It just makes you someone who values your time.
For everyone else
What about y'all? Any advice for the new year? Let's hear it in the comments!