Admit it: You’ve lied to yourself.
No, not about your finances or your NaNoWriMo project. You’ve lied to yourself about your skill as a writer.
I know, because I’ve been there too. I’ve stood at the edge of my writing and looked at the discomfort of it not being perfect. I’ve turned around, handed the ball to another writer and said “This is all yours, fuck that,” because I’ve been hurt far too much as a writer in the past.
If you know anything about writing, you know about rejection. There are some rejections you can take (I sent this to someone who might have been interested and they said no, so whatever), and there are some rejections you receive from people who rend your soul and make you feel worthless.
If you’ve read my About Me page, you know where I am coming from on the second sentence above. I’ve asked someone “respected” in the field to analyze my work for money, and the response I received destroyed my world.
Want to know another secret? I’ve contributed to a Kickstarter project to have another respected person look at my work and tell me nearly the same thing.
Now, if you are an adjusted person who doesn’t have perfection issues, you can look at this and shrug with a response, “Eh, I’ll do what they say and make it happen for another reader / editor / author / whatever.”
If you’re like me – a person who struggles with perfection and needs to have affirmation from others because you can’t simply trust yourself – this feedback is destructive.
If I look at it the way it was intended…it was destructive. It was for a different reason though. You see, writers are told to “develop a thick skin” and “be ready for criticism.”
There’s a different level to it when you receive harsh criticism from a fellow colleague in writing.
I’ve been told I need to lock myself into a library for two years before I even consider myself a writer. I’ve been told my vision and technique is abysmal because I obviously don’t consider the social feelings instead of being somewhat realistic with a period piece. I’ve been told I don’t know how to close scenes out “properly” or that I “can’t capture readers attention” for one reason or another. In the end, this is an external process and an external view.
Can I look through all of this information to find a few nuggets of transformative writing techniques? Sure.
Can I look through this feedback and look at it as people who are transferring their experiences to a new writer for “tough love” and get them “ready for the real world where real world stuff happens and if you don’t real enough you aren’t real”? No.
I will no longer accept people being harsh because they were treated poorly. I will no longer accept that I must stop writing because a fellow writer tells me I should stop. I will no longer accept that I have to hide in a hole while “real writers tackle real issues.”
What do you accept from others that you’ll no longer accept?