Sunday, September 7, 2008

Are You Honest about Your Work?

During our discussions about what keeps aspiring authors from achieving published author status, one person gave this as a reason: "They aren't willing to be honest about the quality of their work. Every one can be a writer, but not everyone is willing to learn how to write. Just because you can put together a correct sentence doesn't mean you can make an interesting statement or create drama."

So, how are you on the honesty scale?

Do you accept feedback well or do you start throwing things around the room when someone dare criticize your baby? Can you face an editor's rejection and consider your piece might need some work?

I've been told by my editor that I'm very open to feedback. I like to believe that is true. Who wins if I shut off any and all suggestions on how to improve my work? Certainly not me.

The key is not to take a critique personally. Sometimes harder said than done...especially if the person who provides the feedback isn't too diplomatic about it. But no matter how the feedback is delivered, does the person make valid points? Can he see something you can't because he has no emotional ties to the piece? Are there areas that more than one person points out as needing improvement? If so, then they're probably right.

I'll be the first to admit that I am a non-fiction writer. I'm comfortable with it--probably because I think the whole world is waiting to hear my opinion on things. LOL! But I struggle like crazy with fiction. I can't get the whole show don't tell thing down right for one thing. I'm not always sure what descriptions should be included and which ones aren't important. My taglines usually need some work.

But I refuse to give up. I keep reading, I keep writing, and I figure a writing class or two is in my future. Speaking of writing classes, this is the remainder of what this person wrote when she was talking about people not being honest about the quality of their work: "Taking writing classes not only teaches the craft, but help to make contacts as well."

Hmmm...learning how to write better and networking too. Sure sounds like a win-win situation to me.

This article orginally appeared at my old Aspiring Author blog on 5/28/08.

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