Writing fiction brings me hope, even working in a vacuum the way I do. If I had an intelligent source of positive feedback I’d feel even more hopeful. Since I don’t, I’m going to become one.
You probably think that negative feedback is what you need. Well, maybe.
But I think writing for critics makes us self-conscious and doubtful – focused on the endless rules of avoidance, like Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins. (The title of Bernstein’s wonderful book, which I read in the 80’s and still love.)
I suppose a good writing coach might give you a mix of positive and negative, but if you’re like me you’ll focus on the negative and discount the positive until your mind is divided between creativity and fear of criticism.
The variety of writing mistakes is infinite. Maybe you shouldn’t stare over the edge.
Of course, you’re more tough minded than I am. You might even welcome a pro’s red pen. Any sane writer would, I guess.
A great copy editor is rumored to be priceless. Anything approaching such a rare person should be helpful – and negative only in the sense that they’re fixing your work which takes a red pen.
But if you had positive feedback from a semi-intelligent reader, you would be inspired to write more of the good stuff that brings the house down. You’d write more often and probably a little faster.
They say dolphins and unicorns respond best to a positive-only approach. It’s been documented thoroughly with dolphins.
Years ago I asked a gifted writer to read one of my short stories. I knew his mom. He sent several pages of eloquent criticism, all of it thoughtful and intelligent.
All of it brutal and crushing.
I stopped writing for several years.
You’re too strong to ever stop writing, I know, but my point is, after that flogging I could never be a dream killer. If a writer wants “constructive criticism” from me, it ain’t likely to happen. I’m not published, I’m a hack. If I didn’t have the curse of infallibility, I wouldn’t even dare to write this blog.
Incidentally, being right about everything is tough. You can relate, right?
Maybe check out my “meaningful page-turner” bias on this site and judge whether or not a positive comment from a guy like me would bring you any hope or inspiration.
If so, send me something before you forget…
To: email@example.com, I guess. Or whatever works. A comment, maybe.
M. Talmage Moorehead
By the way, that’s Cortana’s picture above. She passed away on Dec 3, 2013. She was the chocolate Lab who taught me everything I know about the soul of a dog. Everything.
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