Day 266 – Writers are Weird

Writers are a weird group. Writers need other writers, but we’re shitty and competitive and insecure and generally assholes to one another more often than we probably need to. Sadly, it’s usually the most talented writers that are targeted in group critique. You’d think talent and successful execution of your craft would make you immune to such attacks, but in some groups getting something write means people will knit-pick the crap out of the tiniest detail. Writers are imperfect people, imperfect people get jealous, and jealousy makes decent people do shitty things. I’ve done it (and cringe thinking back on it. GACK!).

A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop indulging in those kinds of criticism frenzies. Participating in the hyper criticism of talented people didn’t help me and it sure as hell didn’t help them either. I was reluctant to praise the writing others because I expected a smug “I know” response and my generosity would just end up building the ego of an asshole. Has that ever happened? Yes, I’ve given compliments that was received condescendingly and I regretted giving it, but most of the time when I’ve reached out to another writer to say “this is so good, keep going” the response has been “Wow, thank you. I really needed to hear that.”

Genuinely building up fellow writers has done wonders for my own confidence as human being, not just as a writer. It’s easy to criticize a beginner, we make such silly mistakes, sentimental, cringe-worthy mistakes. It takes courage, though, to tell a peer that they’re doing it right and acknowledge their growth, but the gift you get in return is so worth the risk. When you see someone just like you work hard to improve a piece and you see that piece start to work in enviable ways, a little light bulb goes off in your head and you know that if they can do it, so you can you.

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: Write about a fledgling.


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