Love The People Who Love Your Writing, For They Are Your Most Honest Critics

The New Year has begun. Retail sales are at an all-time low thanks to returns. We’ve all gained a few pounds. Some of us are going hard core at the gym because of it, and will continue to do so for the next month or two. The bare ends of Boxing Day sales remain.

And I’m still writing.

Re-writing. There’s a thing I know is inevitable, but that I’ll never get used to. Just when I think I’ve got a chapter done after several editing rounds, there’s always something else. But this is one of the first lessons a new writer must learn and must accept. For writers, there little worse than having a sit down with a peer who throws fits or mopes because we didn’t tell them their writing was perfect the first time.

It can seem very frustrating. You can come up with a brilliant idea, only to have logic make to break your plot depending on how you plan to implement it. Someone else might tell you the idea you’re super proud of doesn’t work. Another might say that a beloved character needs to be axed because he serves no purpose. This is all very depressing, and may lead you to consider that writing may not be for you.

But remember something: surround yourself with the right people, and they will always tell you these depressing things because they want you to succeed.

This realization came to me after I was asked to review a project a friend was working on—the script for a musical. She sent me a message about it, saying she was having issues with things in the play, but couldn’t bring it up to her collaborator due to….creative differences. She wanted an extra pair of eyes. He agreed to it because of what she told him about me.

When I asked what that was, she said it was the fact that she trusts me with her work because I get very into what I’m reading. I get excited about it and have reactions that involve a lot of caps locks. But most of all, I’m honest. She says she trusted me because I get involved and I want to see success.

This is the most touching thing anyone could have said about me as a Beta Reader. Honestly, I always feel like a bitch when I critique.

Yet, it’s a very true fact. I know my writing peers think I have the potential, even when I feel ready to give up. They tell me what needs to work and try to talk me through ideas so I can see how my own logic fails. They do this because they want me writing to get out there and be seen and they’re not going to let me send it out looking shabby. It’s going to get printed and it’s going to be blow my readers beyond the moon.

So, remember that, when your Betas are making you think and seemingly ruining your life. They don’t hate you. They’re being cruel just for the hell of it. They’re being complete assholes so you’ll step up and bring back something better. Then they’ll rip it apart and make you bring back something better than that.

And they will keep doing this until you can have something to be proud of, even when your writing has improved beyond that finished piece.

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Categories: musings, On Writing, This is my life | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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