Saturday, August 25, 2007

Critiques and Rejections August 25, 2007

Writers, like everyone else, need approval and pats, and we also need good critics--ones who will point out the flaws as well as the diamonds.

Writing scares me because I need to do it, and if I'm not doing it, I'm thinking of doing it. Isn't that the definition of obsession or addiction? Then I'm in good company with millions of others.

Writing scares others because it is isolating, it's retreating into your world, whether the sky is green and the sand red, or you're doing a technical manual on how to use Vista (which I abhor but that's a rant for another site).

I've been with Critters, a critiquing group for f/h/sf for nearly a decade. I cringe whenever I put something up, then I see the dreck--that's old-fashioned Yiddish for crap/refuse/garbage (as an American living in Israel I do understand that)--from others. I see seeds of roses in them that a great story can be built around. I have seeds too.

We're all trying to get better at our craft, we flinch when someone reads and hates it, or worse when they don't want to read it at all. I know I've done crap but it's also nourishing seeds for another time.

When a fellow writer or editor rejects us, who are they really rejecting? Muses willing, it's the writing that needs the improvement. If they reject you, the writing isn't and has never been the issue, no matter what the other person says. Losing a friendship over it is hard, they lash out at your literary children and we as the penning parents defend our offspring. That's on the top, the underlying issue is different. Often it's jealousy that they like your writing better, or they think they're doing 'serious' writing and you with the fantasy are just copying a genre. What someone says negatively needs a hardlook: do I mix tenses, lack continuity, ramble on? If so, I need to go in and fix it. If the person doesn't like me, f--k 'em.

All writing is valid, no matter if it's the daily journal no one sees or the blog thousands read. We're reaching out to communicate, to entertain, to inform, to soothe, to touch, and hope the reader gets our message.

The writer must be his/her first and best audience. Do it for love and hope someone else loves it enough to pay for it. Find a support person or 3 who listen and feedback, and you support them in their love of photography or gardening or whatever.

Call them and say: 'send me good vibes, I'm going to submerge myself in my book for 2 hours and write'. Call them back after and thank them. Letting someone know not only gives you the push, it gives you a place to start from and a place to end without guilt.

We write for many reasons, and we can not write for as many more.

When I need a push and or validation, I turn to writers I trust and read Natalie Goldberg's books: Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind, Thunder and Lightning, Long Quiet Highway. I read Julia Cameron's Walking in This World, Vein of Gold, The Right to Write.

I may still be writing dreck, but I am writing. Fertilizer is never wasted.


Orly said...

LOVEEEEEEE the new blog.

Melenka said...

I have one friend who finally told me that she isn't reading my WIP because it's not her genre. But she also doesn't read the work of our mutual friend who does work in her favorite genre. We finally figured out that she doesn't read it because she's one of those people who insists on comparison in all aspects of her life and does not have confidence in her own writing. In some ways, it was a relief, because I realized it wasn't me she was rejecting. Now I don't send her the work and we talk about other things.