A Writer's Edge


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Name: Georganna Hancock
Location: San Diego, California, United States

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Don't Let Others Build Your Block

"It's a phenomenon all artists and creative thinkers must face eventually: a show down at the Small Thinkers Corral. It's not that our family or friends actually wish us harm or that they secretly have curly tails and pot bellies. It's more that when you light up with inspiration, you glow. That light can be overwhelming for some and blinding for others. If those friends, family members (or critics of any relation) lack light beams of their own, they're likely to want to turn yours down or--in some cases--just douse you with the cold, clear water of their "reality" 'til your light flame snuffs out."
So lyricized the Muse, Angi Sullins, in Pearls and Pigs--An Artist vs. Critic Phenomenon. I've mused on this topic since finding it a couple of months ago. I've received beatings about the head and body for being "rude" or "too harsh" in replies to beginners. I fit into the category of those who want others to be aware of the realities of the writing world, to help them avoid the pitfalls and mistakes I've already experienced. Have I helped build a Writer's Block for them by my apparent lack of support? I am not insensitive (Lord knows!), but perhaps too blunt, impatient and unwilling to repeatedly post long explanations couched in tender terms. [Yes, I just split an infinitive--it sounds best that way.]

One of the gems of advice you'll see most often in chats and forums is this: toughen up! You can't learn to be a better writer if you can't bear honest critiques of your writing or hear warnings when you're headed down the wrong path. Getting angry or depressed easily leads to giving up or freezing up. This isn't to say that chronic nay-sayers don't exist in your life and online, although they're usually hounded out of chats and forums.

I watched a thread wherein a guy vented his anger because he couldn't find a traditional publisher who would print his book exactly the way he wanted it (and pay him). We tried to tell him that the traditional publishing world doesn't work that way. He just argued and finally went away. Mad, I presume. Then there was the girl who had finally been published and even secured a column. She's in pain because the people who previously supported her desire to be a writer now seem uninterested in her continuing success. I was tempted to write, "And do you want egg in your beer?"

Toughen up! It's your responsibility to keep your creative light lit. Or else you'll find yourself circling a never ending block in the dark.


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Blogger Michele Tune said...

This is so true! It seems the more often I get published, the better my portfolio becomes, the more often "some people" just seem downright jealous. Among those, are some of the people I've cared most about for quite some time. I'm so confused by this, but have decided to ignore it and forge on.

There's a fire burning intensely from the deepest depths of my soul and it keeps me writing, regardless ;-)

2:05 PM  
Blogger Tidewater said...

I agree with this post. Constructive criticism is a must in order to be a complete writer. Here is another great link to writing.


2:21 AM  
Blogger Kelley. Twizzle. Me. said...

I, for one, appreciate your comments--particularly your directness. I do think the number one lesson writers need to embrace from the start is to toughen up. Well, if you want to be successful, that is.

7:10 AM  

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