How are you at receiving criticism? Do you prefer that others treat you with kid gloves, or go for brutal honesty?
Really? There’s a choice?
Because in the past when people have tried to help me be an all around better writer they used brutal bare knuckle honesty because hey- they care.
I would prefer the kid glove treatment but does anybody really do that?
In my experience: No.
I was in a class once where my grade on an assignment went from average to A PLUS!
Well, I listened to my critics and wrote the story exactly the way they said it SHOULD be written in order for it to be CORRECT.
I gutted – and I will admit was a less then perfect but fun read- and made it like any other piece of crud, done to death, predictable horror story. But hey that was the RIGHT way to tell that sort of story.
I moved from the back of the class to the front ( metaphorically speaking ) when I crafted little ditties that could have been written by anybody EXCEPT for me.
That’s right, my work was recognized for being great as long as I removed any trace of Anita Marie from it.
I finished the class and this is what I learned.
If you ask for help, consider it when it is given.
If you want to ‘help’ someone take the ” I would have” You should have ” and the infamous ” This would be better if…” out of the conversation. When it comes to writing there is a lot of technical things involving structure that we should know, so that kind of advice is gold. And in my quest to be a better writer ( which I work at everyday) I pay attention when that advice pops up on my radar.
But I do filter it out because in my mind telling somebody how to be a better writer or how to tell their story in a ‘better way’ (which for some reason always turns out to be their way- I know weird right? ) , verges, in my opinion on telling them how to be a better person.
I don’t view writing as something I do, it’s who I am. So with that in mind I’m always open to finding unique ways to tell a story, different styles of writing . And I’m careful that when that criticism wanders off into the weeds to treat it for what it is- grandstanding.
So I will smile and nod hold my tongue and remember I’ve been doing this for about 40 years and remember what my Grandfather used to say when the Kid Gloves come off and the Everlast Gloves come out.
” There are always going to be some people who are harder to love then others. “