I’ve been encouraging another online friend to take this step I won’t take, and the only reason I’ve done so is because she is, if possible, in a deeper vacuum than I am. Even her spouse won’t read her work, won’t help her hammer out ideas, won’t partake in any way of her writing. He’s not negative about it, he just doesn’t like reading and isn’t interested in anything about writing. So she’s stuck. I’ve tried to be a sounding board, and LOML is doing her best to help too, but we’re a small cadre of critics, and don’t have a diverse set of specialties to offer. Neither of us is formally trained as editors, or even as writers. But we’re trying to help, and we’re trying to do it in a loving, supportive way.
But is that enough? Is that helping as much as a vicious, ripping round of destructive statements shot as constructive criticism?
I’ve encouraged her to find an online writing group, since the real life ones in her area seem to take a particular bent on literary fiction in a narrow area. She’s a genre writer of urban fantasies involving vampires and werewolves. She’s not going to fit very well with a bunch of people looking only for Christian literary fiction. So she’s not able to find a critique group IRL. But she could find an online one.
She hasn’t yet. She’s never said why, but I think I know.
So, anyway. I’m a chicken. Coward. Scaredy-cat. I think she is too, in a lot of ways. She finds the loving, supportive warmth of general awe and acceptance she gets in her current online circles too comforting and warm-fuzzy-ish to leave it. And who wants to leave Nurtureland for a tundra of glowering stares, crossed arms and tapping toes, with baleful eyes seeking failure to accentuate? I can’t blame her.
She’s not so different from me, my writer friend. She’s probably a little nervous to hear what people with no concern for her as a person have to say. Maybe, in some ways, it’s natural to be.
I wish I could answer that with assurance. If I could, I’d be a lot more confident about what’s to come. I’ve always, all my life, been a bit timid, a bit of the ‘fraidy-cat sissy-boy don’t-try-until-you-can-be-sure-it’s-okay kind of kid and grown-up. And here now is an area where I need to be completely confident and willing to have insults work in my favor (not to mention NOT taking them as insults), to strengthen me and my craft.
But I’m not, and I don’t know why. I’m just chicken. I’ve got no reason to be, but I’m a coward just the same.
Now that you think less of me, I’m going to go play with my imaginary friends in the corner until I go home to my loving, nurturing family and spouse, who accept me unconditionally.
Happy Monday, everyone.
Copyright DarcKnyt 2008
ALL rights RESERVED. Do NOT duplicate with express written permission.