So, it’s been a bit quiet around here lately, and I’d like to take a moment to explain why. This is going to be a rather long post, at least for me, so if you’re just popping in, you should probably just mark this unread and come back around again later. Not that I’m suggesting a long post by me deserves your attention, but you’ve been forewarned.
First, the beard growing has been quite an effort. See?
The Bearding of 2013
As you can see, the Bearding of 2013 is well under way, full and thick and unmanaged. It consumes much of my face, though in fact very little of my life. Warming benefits are questionable, but it makes for a great way to not dribble drinks down my chin any more.
Bearding aside (by virtue of this post, we shall transform that into a verb!), it *is* the holiday season. And I’m on the brute squad for an e-commerce site that does a tremendous amount of business this time of the year, so being a bit quiet isn’t abnormal.
But, it’s more than that, and I’m finally at a point where I want to talk about it. I’ve been in a bit of a mood, something you might call the Mr. Tanner mood. If you’re not familiar with the song, here’s some education:
The line that resonates from Mr. Tanner is that “Full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order.”
About three weeks ago, I received some much welcomed feedback and criticism on a story I’d written. The points the critic (a friend, not an editor) made were all very succinct, spot on, and terribly disheartening. I was crushed, devastated even. I’ve been stabbing at this writing game for more than a few years now with my dagger of words, and to no avail. My short stories don’t gain any traction, and I don’t have a longer piece I’m ready to share yet.
The criticisms weren’t all negative, but it was enough to make me question how much longer I was willing to keep trying. My wife tells me I get in these moods occasionally, but I don’t remember them. I was ready to call it quits and move on with my life, maybe explore something new.
So what changed?
The realization last night that I was giving up based on criticism that I sought out. I was taking away the wrong lesson here. I should be adjusting my writing to fix what was highlighted, not giving up. Sure, I thought the story was pretty good until its flaws were pointed out, but that doesn’t mean that all of my stories forevermore are going to have the same issues. Criticism should help us grow, not shrivel.
Isn’t it funny how fragile we let ourselves become? Without criticism, we fear our work won’t be liked or appreciated by anyone. But when we finally find someone willing to give us honest comments, we shy away and cower before the judgements passed.
This all seems like a silly reason to be reclusive the last few weeks, I know. The mind is a fickle and fragile thing, my friends. Like always, I’ll let you know how it goes.