Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Breaking Rules

I think it is cute when I see a toddler who waddles over to the cupboard door and tries to open it knowing he isn’t supposed to. That is what toddlers do. Most moms are one-up on them though and have placed safety locks on all the doors. This is when the tantrum begins because the toddler kid can’t get his way.

Writers are not toddlers by any means, but they do need someone to tell them, “Hey that’s not the right way to do that.” or maybe in a gentler fashion, “Maybe you could try it this way, may I suggest…?” The writer doesn’t lose his/her temper they just drink in the gained knowledge and move on to better writing. Lesson learned.

That is what you’re supposed to do at least. Learn from what someone tells you or recommends to you. They are the reader and the ones who will be buying your work in print so if they see something slightly off the mark, point it out, then you need to take into consideration that maybe they’re right.

Newcomers to the field of writing think it is cute to break the rules, just like toddlers on their first playpen breakout. They prance around with the, “I can do what I want” attitude. Then as soon as someone corrects them, they run for the hills to bury their head deep in the soil. This isn’t making you out to be a good writer, it’s making you look like an amateur in a field where there is too many big league players ready to take you down, or at least beat you to the submission line.

If you’re going to be a writer, a professional writer, you need to be tough. A thick-skinned writer is like a desert lizard, they can take the heat and they bathe in it too! Just remember that you are not a toddler and that you will continually need to learn and take big sips of the cup of knowledge. Place your hand out into the open air, letting someone grab hold of it as if to guide you. You’ll be thankful that you did and all the more wiser.

Never fear criticism, never fear writing, always embrace the tree of life. It might have splinters but you’ve learned a great deal and will carry the experience with you a lifetime.

Here is some words to chew on:

dalliance (dah-lee-uh ns)
to dawdle
amorous toying: flirtation

halcyon (hal-see-uhn)
1. calm; peaceful; tranquil:
2. rich; wealthy; prosperous:
3. happy; joyful; carefree

miscreant (mis-cree-uh nt)
1. a disbeliever; heretic
2. villain

prevaricate (pri-var-i-cayt)
1. to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.

rectitude (rek-ti-tood)
1. rightness of principle or conduct; moral virtue: the rectitude of her motives.
2. righteous

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good essay, Joni.

It is very hard to work with new writers. Sometimes you just can't avoid hurting their feelings. But it is so important for them to understand they have to EARN the right to break the rules, otherwise the act just makes them look like an amateur.
Likewise, giving feedback is a job requiring sensitivity and patience. If a writer isn't ready for it, the person giving feedback should have the sense to back off and allow that writer to learn at his/her own pace.
Hey, I'm still picking the spines out of my backside from a critique I received in a local group around my area. LOL. Yeah, it hurts, but I'm making pens out of that woman's quills.

Course it helps that the very same story got published. There's a nice little bandage to slap on my northern end.

Be good.