critiquing, writing


I promise, this is my last navel-gazing post for a while. Really.

It’s just, I think I’ve had a breakthrough in figuring out some of my frustrations with where I’m at with my writing (and a lot of other areas of life) right now.

It isn’t so much that publication is my goal. But I DO want to be read by others, and this is a major reason why:

When I love something, I want to do it as well as I possibly can. I don’t have to be the absolute best at something, but I want to do it as best as I can. I love to write stories, and I want to write good stories. And the problem is that for so long, only people who love (or at least like) me have been reading my writing and commenting on it. And they’re nice to me. Not since college have I had someone completely objective reading my work and commenting on it (I’m assuming that the objective readers on are the ones who simply don’t comment), and so I no longer know from someone else’s perspective what my strengths and weaknesses are as a writer (aside from the grammatical weaknesses Laura pointed out on my last piece she critiqued. I do know my technical writing issues, just not the creative aspect so much).

I’m the same way with music. When I was taking voice lessons, my awesome teacher never hesitated to tell me when something was good and when it needed work. Occasionally by banging her head on the piano keys, but hey, it got the message across (there was also the threat of  “if you sing like you’ve swallowed your tongue ONE MORE TIME I’m reaching in your mouth myself and pulling your tongue,” which was remarkably effective). Since stopping lessons, I’m kind of adrift – not sure anymore of my strengths as a singer and my weaknesses.

I don’t need to be the next JK Rowling. Nor do I need to be a concert vocalist or the next American Idol (or whatever current singing-related show is popular now – I can’t keep up). What I do need is to be the very best Louise I can be at whatever it is I do. Somehow.

Objectivity. It’s a beautiful thing. And it can be so hard to gain when you don’t have someone outside of yourself assisting you. My husband is always happy to help me where he can, but he’s my husband, he has to be nice to me. I’m pretty sure that was in our vows.

Naturally, realizing all this doesn’t help me actually gain that needed objectivity to my own skills, but it does at least help me from feeling generally “I suck”-ish about said skills. Which is good.

So. Knowledge gained. Good thing. Next step, finding those objective observers. Which will take more work, but hey. I’m never scared of lofty goals so long as they are defined. It’s the vague ones that scare me.

6 thoughts on “Objective”

  1. Ohh, objectivity is so hard because, obviously, we are so close to whatever it is we're doing. I know after I've written something, or after I've rewritten something for the gazillionth time, all my words look like a giant puddle of word-mush. I don't know HOW to write alone anymore. Even as I'm writing Rising 2, my friend Emma is reading it as I go–every time I finish a chapter or stop for a day or two, I email her the whole file. Having her objective opinion ("This makes sense, Laura! I really love this!" or "I don't really buy this and this is why") helps me so much in feeling like maybe this thing is working.Finding people who are honest and who you trust is soooo important, and you will get there! (And you are on What do you write on there? I've met some of my dearest friends through fanfic.)

  2. Yes, I've made some fantastic friends through fanfic. None of whom I've actually managed to meet in real life yet, but we're all hoping to change that eventually. Most of my stories there are in LM Montgomery's world, but I've been building up a decent collection of Narnia short stories, too. I've got a couple in the Lloyd Alexander section, as well. My handle is Elouise82, if you're curious about any of them.Thank you for your encouragement!

  3. The objective observers are an absolute must, but it's so painful to have your writing faults pointed out! I recommend a sturdy mug of hot cocoa for the occasion.

  4. Voice lessons went so far toward boosting my self-confidence as a teenager. Along with taking up ice dance again, it's one of those things I would like to pursue further as an adult. Sometime in the next ten years, I hope!

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