Monday, March 14, 2011

Er... thanks for your opinion, but...

Sometimes, I wonder if I'm a different breed of human. Maybe I am. After all, I write.

Maybe, the distinction that I write is why I seem to have problems with communicating with people about writing.

Odds are that all of us writers have met the group I'm thinking about.

I'm not talking about the "Oh! When will you be published?" or "So one day you will be famous!" gangs. No. I'm talking about the: "Oh what is so difficult about it?" and the "I could write a book with my eyes closed" gang.

To become even more specific, there is a faction in those two gangs that makes my blood boil. The "You're going about this all wrong!!!!" crew.

I mean... seriously, if they were so wise and wonderful and knew everything there is to know about how to optimally work towards publishing, why in the name of all that is holy, AREN'T THEY PUBLISHED?

Yes, they can't write with music (or at all, as is attested by the fact that their idea of a completed work is a text message) or they think that my preferred music is an absolute creativity killer. Or they think I should have a ten foot tall Easter Bunny whispering plot ideas into my head.

I couldn't give a monkey's arse. Because guess what. They're not QUALIFIED to even give me a tip.


How arrogant must you be to insinuate that my writing things in a certain way is stupid and bound to fail? After all, I have finished a first draft. They haven't even attempted to write an essay. 

I might as well go to Hussein Bolt and tell him he's running wrong.

And you know the worst of it?



Generally, I smile blandly and imagine creating a character in my head that will die violently. How do you deal with these uhm... professional advisers?


  1. Hi Misha .. a good rant - there are lots of self-opinionated people out there .. you believe in yourself - keep going! Cheers and have a good week .. Hilary

  2. I remind myself that they will never be published.

    And with that mentality, they'll think they're better than everyone one else at what they feel they have the potential to do...and they'll never do it.

    So I remind myself--
    they're probably really bad in bed ;)

    That makes me smile.

  3. I've been very fortunate not to ever have met any of these people. I'm serious. Maybe it's because I don't tend to advertise my writing all that openly, so the topic never comes up.

    But I would probably do a similar thing to you ;)

  4. Ignore them! Remember, critics are silenced when you succeed. And yes, unsolicited, unqualified advice is always annoying.

  5. I don't have any, fortunately. But when I encounter folks who say this type of stuff in any aspect of my life, I usually remind myself that what they're saying is about them and their needs to feel in control and knowledgeable. It's NOT actually about me or what I'm doing. It makes it easy to let it roll of my back.

  6. I haven't met with too many of these folks and none of them totally rude. The teacher in me tries to explain the reasons for my choices then backs off if it's clear they don't want to learn anything.

  7. There is only one thing left to do. Rewrite the witch trials and have them all hang, or something worse. On their lips as they are about to die, utter, "Forgive me oh magnificent writer, I no not of what I have done." LOL
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

  8. Oh I agree with what alot of good folks have said here, ignore them. Keep going, keep writing!!

  9. Yeah, I think you have to ignore them...unless they are the Hussein Bolt of writing, then it might be a different matter, so to speak. And, writers are a different breed, so to speak, so non-writers don't often know what we're talking about or how things work.

  10. I just accept the fact that these same people will probably one day be political leaders and I'll get to sit around and tell them they don't have the slightest idea what THEY'RE doing (except, I'll actually be right)

    Revenge requires patience.

  11. You get it out!

    I just nod my head and mutter, okay rather sarcastically, and then immediately forget what they said. Take my osteopath who tells me EVERY TIME I see him about a friend of his who is writing a romance novel - it seems he can't understand why it is taking so long. It is, afterall, only words. Agghhhhh.

  12. It's about delivery, really. I've had people who are not writers read something that I wrote and had a valid, tactful point, if they had an issue with it. On the flip side (for those who don't write and think they can do better) I don't bother with them. If it's not constructive, it's destructive. How helpful the advise is is what matters. Caution. You may want to look up the advice you're given before you apply it, since the advice could be horribly wrong. That's my advice, anyway :)

    I also have an award for you. Come and see!

  13. I'd ask them where their first draft is, if it's still in their head tell them they're doing it wrong. If it's in your head it can't move on to the shelf anytime soon.

  14. I absolutely LOVE that line, their idea of a published work is a text message.

  15. Great way to vent, Misha. I too use writing as a form of emotional release. :)

  16. Yep, I can imagine it's frustrating to hear people say their way is the ONLY way. I only know what works for me, but for instance I know some people can write with music (I can't) and pantser their plots (I can't, not totally). Just do what works for you!

  17. They just don't know what they're talking about. There is no wrong way to write unless you're just plain NOT WRITING. :/ (Bad writing is still writing after all...)

    Don't listen to them Misha. They're pulling stuff out of their bum.

  18. i thoroughly enjoyed your rant. i write in my journal about these people or i write in a thinly veiled blogpost. ;)

  19. AAAAAAAAAAAAMEN! Sing it! Love love love!

  20. I really like your giant Easter Bunny idea. :D

    I have a friend who thinks getting published is 'easy'. I wanted to smack her a few weeks ago when she implied that I couldn't be good if I hadn't gotten a contract yet. She has yet to finish a chapter and she's never submitted. I bit my tongue, but wanted to say, "When your first rejection comes in, we'll talk then." Gees!

  21. What? You don't have a 10 foot tall easter bunny whispering in your ear???? egads!

    I laughed out loud at this: "Their idea of a completed work is a text message"

    What do I do? I smile and nod.

  22. Cutting remarks.

    What's the fun of being a writer if you're not going to use it to destroy someone's ego every now and again?

  23. Hello Misha,
    Yes, tis I, the ever so modest, shy and unassuming Gary over at klahanie :)
    I pay no heed to it. Besides, I have only one creature that has an opinion that I truly pay attention too. Of course, that would be Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star! :) My friend and my 'pawblisher' :)
    And please remember, I am the 'grammar anarchist' and no way of writing is the right way.
    Yours humbly, Gary.

  24. I just smile and nod, then cheerfully ignore them. You can't cure ignorant.

  25. Buy chocolate, add wine, rant to friends, and KNOW that you are accomplishing the goals you set out for yourself. It doesn't matter how you get there.

    Smile. And write that character idea down.

  26. I have learnt to tackle these irritating creatures. They can be quite a pain. Just smile and ignore them.

  27. I am usually able to ignore them, but if they really get to me, I write nasty limericks about them. It helps. Fortunately, I haven't gotten to the point of sending the limerick to anyone yet.

  28. Thanks Hilary. What you said is true. No matter what that person says, the responsibility of success lies with me. :-)

    Hahahaha Christine, that thought made me laugh.

    Wow Trisha, you're really lucky.

    I try, Marjorie. Really I do. But those people are NOISY! :-)

    Diane, that is true. I really should start hauling my backside to get to the success part. ;-)

    Sarah, that is great advice. I'll definitely think about it like that from now on. Thanks!

    Jennifer, I know what you mean when you say they don't want to learn. They're just so convinced that they're right. >_<

    LOL Nancy, beautiful. :-D

    Thanks Talei! I'll try. :-)

    Cherie, I wish I knew the Hussein Bolt of writing... Imagine what he would know. ;-)

    Hahahahaha Tracy. So true!

    Hahaha Ellie, I know what you mean... I tend to react the same, but there's always a little bit that crawls into my thoughts that gives my inner censor amunition I prefer he didn't get.

    David, that is so true. I gave my book to a non-writer for a crit, because I wanted to see what she would get snagged on. Her advice stings (so much so that she thought this post was about her) but it is invaluable. But the difference is that she gives me something to work with instead of being like... Oh... it's all wrong why do you bother... :-)

    Great point Schmidty. I suspect that a lot of issue with the criticisms lie with the fact that people want to live vicariously through me by making me write how they would want to. :-)

    Hehehe thanks Joe. :-)

    It's great, isn't it Ciara?

    Carol, I agree with you. I write my way. I'll see if other people's ways help, but only if an aspect of my own method isn't helping. And not if someone insists that that aspect is wrong because it would never work for them. :-)

    The only wrong writing is no writing. Great way to put it, Devin. :-)

    Haha Barbara, I have tried veiling, but I find that I usually want to chew the veil to shreds, so I tend to keep it general(ish). ;-)

    Thanks Colene! :-D

    Ooooh M... I can see why you would want to do her harm. People can be so thoughtless sometimes. They think it's some hobby and don't understand what a significant portion of our life it takes up. :-)

    Hahaha Lynda, my muse sort of started taking a shape of a very angry guy. He'd most likely decapitate the bunny and cook him for lunch. Aaaaannyway, smiling and nodding works, but I can't always shake the annoyance. :-/

    Muhahahahahaha JE I like the way you think. :-)

    Hi Gary. Of course, Penny is incredibly wise.

    Hahaha Maria, no we can't. :-)

    Haha Kari, your idea sounds great! :-)

    I'll try, Rachna.

    Haha Ben, those sound like a great way to deal with it. Never tried limericking before...

  29. There's nothing you can do about that kind of arrogance except ignore it. After a piece of chocolate, of course.

  30. Oh how I loved this. And I agree. Why does it seem like those who want to dish out the harshest criticism are those who aren't even active in that which they criticize? I know some people who are "never wrong" who "always know best" and I usually grin and nod and change the subject as soon as possible.

    Then I go and create a character in their honor, one that will get the stuffing beat out of them... ;)

    Keep writing, girl! The way YOU write!!

    PS: LOL! My word verification was "squall". Perfect choice for this rant, I should say :D

  31. I loved this rant!!!

    I've learned to ignore the naysayers, after years of believing in them. Usually the ones with those strict opinions aren't even published!

    When I spoke of my intent to self publish my poetry book, one of the naysayers said it wasn't worth the effort. I believed her. It stayed on the shelf for two years. I'm dusting it off right now, and I will publish it.

    I think all those people serve as a test of how much we WANT something. So that makes me persevere no matter what


    greetings from a fellow crusader

  32. Connie, OF COURSE! Ignoring idiots isn't ignoring idiots without a chunk of Lindt melting on my tongue. ;-)

    Hahaha Jen, squall is rather fitting. I love the way you deal with unwanted criticism. :-)

    Hi crusader! I am so glad to hear that you're going ahead despite what naysayers said. May you prove them terribly terribly wrong. :-D


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