May 1, 2013

IWSG - facing the critics









i'll admit it right here. i'm a people pleaser. i wish i weren't, but that's how i've spent most of my life - worrying about what people think of me. one day i'll get over it, but for now, that's my Achilles' Heel.

when i write, it works its way in and keeps me from writing. "will the people who read Eldala like this one? will they be ok that i've changed my writing style? will they like this story? will they like it as much as the first one?" no wonder i get stuck. i'm trying to be perfect.

now, i should know that the people who really count (friends and family) are going to like it no matter what. but i still don't want to be writing it for them. and though i've faced hardly any criticism from people i don't know for the first one, i shouldn't be worrying about them. but i still do, a little.

now, i know some of you who have several books out there, and have a wider audience than i do, have faced critics. for you (and a little for me), i thought of these quotes today:

from Ratatouille - "In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."

and then i thought of the speech by Teddy Roosevelt about the Man in the Arena. when i looked it up, i found a couple of quotes that are more applicable to writing - 

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic - the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." (1891)

"Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it. The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness. It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger." (1894)

for more insights from insecure writers, you can go to Alex's IWSG page.


9 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's true - it's easy to sit back and criticize the efforts of others. The real challenge is being the one to make those efforts.
I'm also a perfectionist, so I know how you feel.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

What wonderful quotes! Thanks for sharing. :)

Julie Musil said...

Wow, I absolutely LOVE those quotes about criticism. I never thought of it that way. So true. And you're not alone in your people pleasing ways. I wish I didn't worry about it as much, too.

Sarah Chafin said...

So many great quotes! Thank you for sharing. Simply Sarah

Jessica Salyer said...

I think that is easy to be scared away by the fear of what people are going to say. I try to be true to the characters and write for me. If I'm happy with it I hope others will be.

Annalisa Crawford said...

The ending of one of my stories could have gone 2 ways... the way my audience would probably preferred, and the way it needed to go. I always try not to give people want they want because that's usually the easiest way!

Yolanda Renee said...

I'm a people pleaser too, and boy does it get me into trouble.

I don't take criticism well, but I'm learning - through writing, and the critiques to be a better writer. However, I could never be a critic, never!

Enjoyed the quotes -- so true!

M. J. Joachim said...

Sometimes you just have to let go and learn to fly. Then you have to learn to go higher, where the air is thin and it's hard to breathe. Then you have to learn to dodge airplanes and other birds. Then, after you have so much momentum going, you have to learn to sail and float back down to earth, so you can land. No critique in the world has the power to change your flight plan, unless you give him the master copy.

randi lee said...

I used to be very afraid of people judging me--especially my writing as its the one thing I think I'm very good at. So I locked my writing away for a long time and didn't show anyone. I finally said to myself, "if anyone IS a jerk about their critique, forget 'em!" and to take everything else as a learning experience. Please yourself before anyone else...pleasing others can be downright exhausting sometimes!