Wednesday, September 16

Update

Just wanted to drop in and give you all a quick update. First: some of you may have noticed that my "Currently Reading" section has not changed at all. To be honest, I haven't even started that book but have been reading school stuff and various other authors. I will try to update that this weekend.

Secondly: today in my "stupid English class," as it will be called from now on, I learned that apparently you are not a writer if you can't take criticism.

Blinking.

What do you all think? Are you not a writer if you can't take criticism?

12 comments:

  1. I think the ability to take criticism isn't necessary to write, but successful published authors probably require it. Of course, any writer needs to decide whether the criticism being given is valid and pertinent to his work, and whether he respects the person giving it.

    JMO

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  2. B.E.- I agree with you completely. I think to be successful a writer needs to learn when to take criticism and when not to. Because of that, I found my teacher’s quote to be off. In my experience with other writers, we tend to be fiercely protective of our work, almost to the point of being stubborn about it. So his quote wasn’t quite right...

    I’m also iffy on sharing all of MY work with everyone. He says a writer shares everything, even their rough, rough, ROUGH copies. This, to me, doesn’t seem quite right. I think it goes against what Jen brought up a few weeks ago about what Gaelen Foley said about waiting until your work is completed.

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  3. It helps to be able to take a beating. I took many while having my MS beta read. But It only helped my story. Love your blog title by the way! :)

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  4. Eek. I never share rough copies of my work with anyone but my daughter, and I only do that to help her see what the writing process can be like. Just the thought of anyone else seeing my early drafts gives me the woobies.

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  5. "You are not a writer if you can't take criticism" is an ambitious statement. There are a healthy number of published authors with reputations of not taking well to criticism. That being said, being able to take criticism will generally make a writer better at his/her craft. It will make life easier if we ever achieve publication, at least :)

    As for a writer sharing "everything," well writing is personal. I'm sure each writer shares whatever he/she is comfortable with. Again, your professor is making quite a generalization.

    Back in college I was fortunate enough to not have English professors who made such black-and-white rules over the writing world, especially my wonderful Creative Writing professors. If I were you I'd begin Operation: Get Through the Semester. Glean out the nuggets of wisdom from all the stuff he/she is shoveling (and there are probably some useful things he's talking about, too), take everything else with grace and a grain of salt, and remember not to take his/her classes again if you can avoid it :)

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  6. Hi again, I'm having an award party over at my blog...come over if you want :)
    Diana

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  7. I think it's good to be able to take criticism, and it can really help improve your writing, but I don't think it's a necessity.

    ...But it definitely makes a person seem like a child if they can't XD;; I remember this girl in my art class who couldn't take criticism on her art. She got all weepy and angry whenever somebody gave her constructive criticism.

    I remember thinking, "Wow, she has a long way to go." Not artistically, mind you. Just in terms of maturity.

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  8. "He says a writer shares everything, even their rough, rough, ROUGH copies."

    I've heard that if some writers share their initial writings, they lose the urge to finish said writings.

    I, for one, can't show a writing until I believe it's completely polished. If somebody says something critical about it (as long as I agree with their criticism), I feel very, very ashamed. Even the idea of sharing a rough draft makes me incredibly anxious.

    So no, I don't believe in what your teacher's saying.

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  9. Karen-- Hello and thanks for stopping by! I agree, as writers we need to learn to accept criticism of our work without breaking down in tears or throwing things. However, some criticism can be bad. It’s our job to decide whether or not we’ll listen to whatever someone says. Boy, as writers we have a fun time of it, hm?

    B.E.-- I’m with you on that one. I’ve only recently let my boyfriend see some of my rough work and that was more to show him how much work writing can be (he sees the “finished” part afterwards and ooh’s and ahh’s about how much of a difference there is). My mum has also read a lot of my work, but not really the rough stuff. I’ve at least gone over it before she reads. Unfortunately, we both fell behind on getting her to read my WIP so she’s just going to wait until I’m done the first revision and then she’ll read with her red pen out. And yes. She uses one. She’s a great help!

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  10. Diana— I agree completely! Being able to take criticism can make a writer that much better and will help with being published. Oh, I’m so glad you agree with me. I was talking to my Mum about this just the other day and she was getting all fired up about his blanket statements. Writers are all different, that’s what makes us all so interesting ;) Forcing a writer to share work that they are not ready to share does nothing but hinder the writing process. Why bother critiquing something that the author knows needs to be worked on? And I’m not talking about overall revisions of a novel. But if the author is working on a chapter but isn’t finished with it, why share it right away?

    Ahh you’re lucky! This is the second English professor I’ve had that was completely wacked. I had one last semester and by the end they actually ended up firing her. Not soon enough, IMO, but at least they realized their mistake. And then there’s this guy. Sighs. But all of my other English professors have been amazing. So much so, that I actually miss them this semester. I will definitely be taking any courses they are teaching in the future. And yes, I will be avoiding this guy in the future like he is the plague. He might be. We'll have to wait and see. If I start posting pictures of me with blackish, swollen lymph glands, then we'll know for sure.

    LOL! I like that. “Operation: Get Through the Semester.” I think I might have to “borrow” that, if you don’t mind? =D

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  11. Jessie—I agree. There are a lot of great writers out there who probably wouldn’t benefit from any criticism. And then sometimes the criticism just doesn’t work with the story so it benefits no one.

    Yes, I have a lot of respect for people who can actually take criticism. In high school I always took it from friends or teachers, but then turned around and moped for a few days. *Side note, my Mum was the one person that I never just took it from. In fact, I think a lot of our fights during that time were regarding my attitude when it came to criticism. But don’t get the wrong idea, I was never a very bad young teen. I got along with my parents freakishly well, and still do* Anyway, it wasn’t a good thing IMO. However, my Mum and one of my high school English teachers helped with that a lot, so by the time college rolled around I was good to go.

    And, I think as writers we have to have a certain level of maturity to do what we do. We have to respect other writers as well as the industry itself. You may not like someone’s writing, but you have to respect the fact that they sat there and wrote something. That takes a great amount of discipline and should be applauded rather than made fun of. You also have to be mature about your own writing, whether it is good or bad.

    I’ve heard that too. I imagine I’d probably get like that for a few days or weeks if someone tore my work apart like that when it wasn’t even ready to be shared.

    Aww, don’t feel ashamed! Everyone makes a mistake or two (or three, LOL), it just goes part and parcel with being human! Isn’t our species grand? And I’m with you on feeling anxious. I was even nervous about sharing rough work with my Christopher and I knew he wouldn’t be mean about it but constructive. To be honest, it’s the one part of the class I’m actually nervous about. I’m afraid I’ll snap back at the professor and call him a nitwit or something much worse. Knowing me it would probably be on the much worse side of things.

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