A Clearer View

. I haven’t written much this week, what with still having a cold at the start, and the end being fairly busy, what with volcanoes and leaders debate and theatre and lots of other things.

But – here’s an anecdote.

Once, I was in a department store, browsing listlessly through the clothes. I wasn’t feeling happy. I felt fat, and plain and miserable and boring. I wanted to … not be me.

I looked up, and saw a woman across the store. ‘If only I could be like her’, I thought. She was very pretty, and very charismatic – you couldn’t take your eyes off her. She was graceful, and though not slim, she wasn’t fat either. She was what I wanted to be.

Mind you, I’m slightly short-sighted. So I watched and envied this mystery woman for a good five minutes before I realised I was looking in a mirror….

The point of the story is – you are your own worst critic. You are the person most likely to look at your work and cry ‘this is a pile of unmitigated crap, fit only for lining the cage of a flatulent aging parrot!’. But you’re wrong. You are incapable, no matter how cool and distant you fool yourself you are, of judging your work fairly. You will always need someone else’s opinion.

You don’t necessarily have to take their advice. If they tell you that your lead character would be much better as a shark named Maureen, you can ignore them. (Unless your main character is a shark called Betty. Maureen’s a much better name). But you can listen to their praise (and criticism, if you feel its justified). In fact, you should listen to it, because your work will always be much, much better than you think it is.

By the way – the good opinion I got of me from the mirror moment only lasted half a day. I soon saw my bad side more clearly than more good side again.

Always get someone else to read your work. Their vision will be much clearer than your own. And they will see all that is good and right and true in it, whilst you will only ever see the faults.


2 responses to “A Clearer View

  1. I had been relying on my own criticism, and the criticism of people with not much interest in reading or writing… and my mum…
    I recently found a friend who is keen to look over my work and I his in return – and it’s priceless. Not only does some feedback help me see things I never noticed, it also makes me feel a hell of a lot better about my work by the end of it.
    Really glad to have found someone who does this well.

  2. Agreed.

    As much as I hate to admit it, I am appreicative of the few people I’ve shown my current w.i.p. to, and once I get the first round of editing done, I’ll be even more appreicative of the friend whose willing to tackle the entire thing for me and offer her critique from beginning to end.

    Now where did I put that bottle of antacid? 😀

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