Friday, October 14, 2011
Is it so Hard to be Helpful?
I'm having one of the days where I just want to strangle someone. It's not so much that anything is going wrong exactly, it's just that I'm getting beyond irritated with other people's inability to see past themselves and their own beliefs. I'm seeking help for my writing, yes, that's true, but that doesn't give you the right to criticize what you haven't even read. How could you know that my stuff isn't ready for an agent, have you read it? Last I checked, you hadn't.
I need to take a deep breath...hold on...
I am a pretty positive person. I work with teenagers and I believe in instilling hopes and dreams and having faith in a person and their ability to achieve something great. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in giving them delusions of grandeur, but I believe in encouragement and self confidence.
Maybe I'm just feeling defensive.
Recently someone told me that people should be able to give criticism in a positive way and actually want to help. Actually, it was a fellow winterguard coach talking about accepting help from someone you know is so much better than you. There shouldn't be the words "never" or "can't" involved. And I feel like in this writing world I'm getting a lot of that, from people who have never met me, never read anything I've written. It's just you're not ready, you can't do this, don't do that. But when am I actually going to get something that's helpful? I realize that when I post my query, I'm asking for your help, but if you're not actually going to help, why bother responding? I want concrete advice, not just a wishy-washy insult to my writing style (which btw, you've never read.) Months ago when I posted my first query I got SO MUCH helpful advice. Now it seems like I can't get anything close to that.
What I really think I want is myself, in the form of someone else. Someone who can encourage as well as give solid advice. I want someone who will not automatically tell me that my stuff isn't ready for an agent, but actually tell me how I can improve so that it will be ready. Stop with the assumptions, cut the crap. I've had enough.
I need a writing circle, some local people that are willing to work together. But since I live in Michigan, which is apparently a lame state, there doesn't seem to be any of those around here. I just want some positivity for once! I'm sick of being so proud of something I've accomplished only to have someone who's never read it tell me it's crap.
I'm not an idiot. I do realize that a manuscript isn't ready for agents a week after it's finished. I knew this when I was ten. But thanks for telling me again and again and again, just in case I didn't know. Maybe next time you could not waste your time and tell me how to make my query better.
I feel better now.
Happy writing friends. You are all amazing and I know you can accomplish great things. Don't let other people tell you that you can't, because you can.
All the best,