Saturday, July 12, 2008

Take my ego, please!

Let go of my egg-o or better yet let go of your EGO.

Our ears are always at attention and our noses twitch at the slightest hint of a story. Ideas bloom like weeds and we nibble at the slightest scent of a scoop.

Writer’s are humble creatures settled in their ways. We have a style that uniquely sings to us. We bedazzle with words and who wouldn’t love our art; we’re writers. The thing is, some people can’t take criticism they let their ego get in the way.

That is the difference in a hobby writer and a talented writer, seeking to learn a craft. A hobby writer shares his/her work with family, friend’s co- workers, etc.; they love it, adore it, and tell all their friends about you. Your head begins to swell like it was filled with helium. But a serious writer of the craft diligently works at creating a masterpiece to be displayed to the world, no helium involved, just the person the pen and paper.

The ego begins to come into play during feedback time. I had one lady in a class who could not handle critical feedback. I, being gentle in my comments, pointed out what I saw as right and what could use a little more assistance in bringing home the point that I’m certain she was trying to make.

If she could have climbed through the computer, the lady would have sawed my head off, serving it on a dinner platter to her dog. I believe she had a bruised ego and was unable to handle honest criticism of her work. She had always heard how good her words flowed, and how eloquent her speech had become and how she should pursue a writing career. She was great and wanted me to know it.

I asked her, "How long have you been writing?" In a hasty response she said, "Well, all my life it’s been my hobby."

We can all honestly say we’ve been writing since we can remember.

"But how long have you been studying the craft of writing?"

"This is the first time anyone from outside of my family has had the pleasure of reading my words."

Here is her ego speaking, not the knowledgeable writer within. She had no foraml education in the writing craft.

I went on, "But there is structure, and form that writer’s use that we need to adhere to if we’re going to be serious writer’s."

"Are you saying I’m not a serious writer?"

I never saw her again. I wasn’t saying that she wasn’t a serious writer, I felt she could learn a lot about the craft before demanding me to accept her one-sentence paragraphs.

The problem was, she let her ego carry her like the wind carries pollen. She imagined her writing to be perfect with no qualms whatsoever. I’m sorry but when I see good writing, I point it out. When I see someone making mistakes slight or not, I make them aware. Never harsh and brutal, always gentle in my critiques. Critique and feedback is the writer’s best friend. Without it, we will never learn to be our best. (And even the best appreciate feedback. Just ask Mr. King.)

We writers have a thick skin. True writers can take the criticism as the ego sits outside the door, panting waiting for a time of good use. I say, leave it out there, let it go potty on the lawn. As a matter of fact, let it run away from home.


Mike's Musings said...

We, as writers, bare (or bear) our souls to the world. We write what's inside our heads. Thus leaving us with criticism from those who are better than we are. I don't give a rats behind if someone is a better writer than me. I have a story to tell the world, and if the world wants to read it, then fantastic. If not, then I have to write another book. :)

joni said...

Mike? Mike???
Is this the one and same Mike?


You visited my blog!
Well it is about time buddy!

Best friends need to check up on one another, and I VALUE your opinion immensely!

Ok, Now I'm going to visit your blog and see if you've added any thoughts.

I think we bare more than our soul. But that's for another blog ;-) lol

We writer's are UNIQUE and I'm sticking to it! We're one of a kind, and we are special.

Thanks for visiting my friend!


June said...

Awesome advice, Joni.

There's not much use in giving feedback to a writer who is already "perfect." *SIGH*

Unfortunately, when one is looking at writing for the first time, one never knows the attitude behind (or the reason) the work.
If a writer wants only praise and good words for his or her writing, they should only give it to family and friends, for when the writer ventures outside this close circle, they are likely to encounter the TRUTH. . .

Take care,

benning said...

Would that ego-filled writer be the one I think it is?

joni said...

Wow! Benning and Mike in the same post!

I do draw the best crowd don't I? lol

And noooooooooooo ben it wasn't her, (I know who you're thinking) This was a lady very similar to her, almost her twin. lol


Anonymous said...

"If she could have climbed through the computer, the lady would have sawed my head off, serving it on a dinner platter to her dog."

That sentence made me laugh. I couldn't help picturing the lady climbing through the computer, grabing your head and make it disappear little by little while your chair falls when you try to resist, holding the screen with both hands, your head half way gone into the cyberspace, lol

But apart from that, and seriously speaking, I agree with you. If we don't get honest critics and feedback, how on earth are we going to learn to become better writers?