Thursday, January 6, 2011

What kind of person are you, any way?

So, back in the day, before my writing hiatus, I was in the middle of some major edits to my 'beauty' story. I had a couple of crit partners who would read through the chapters I'd rewrite. They would then tell me why I still had a long way to go on them. I  would take their notes, sit for a while and try to incorporate that into another round of rewrites.

This is a lot different from the first... many times I got critiques back on my novels. You must remember that I had the perfect first draft, twice. Every criticism felt like a personal blow. How could someone not see that I had written perfection? There wasn't any need to change what I had already completed. It was their fault they couldn't see my genius. I would have one of two reactions. I would either completely disregard everything they had to say and try to find someone else who agreed with me, or I would slide into a hopeless bout of discouragement because someone didn't like my writing (and by extension, me.) Not the most rational or productive way to respond.

I look at where I was at the very beginning and where I was when I took a break and realize that this is what makes a writer. It's not about putting words on paper (or computer screen, as the case may be.) Any body can do that. And lots of people probably do. The world is full of people who think they can just put down a bunch of stuff on the fly and sell it for a million bucks. "Obviously, my story is comparable to Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King, Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, pick your favorite author/genre." When no one else agrees with them, they throw a fit or quit or both.

A real writer will look at what they have written, grow some detachment, and take criticism in stride. They don't quit just because nobody likes what they have done, or they have to scrap something and start over, or they don't sell their current project. A writer will keep writing (and frequently rewriting) in spite of, and because of, the response they get. A real writer will write because they love it, and want it to be the very best, with as much help and work as it takes to get there. And that, my friends, is what I want to be. A real writer.

What makes some one a writer in your books? (Ha ha. That's a funny, writerly sort of pun...)


Cheree said...

I agree with you, a writer will be able to take criticism and grow from it. I believe that everyone has the ability to write, but what makes them a writer is if they've got the passion to write and won't get discouraged at rejection and is always looking for ways to develop their skills.

Krista V. said...

Wonderful post, Kayeleen. Writers write because they have to. They write because whenever they see something funny or beautiful or tragic, they imagine how they would describe it if they were writing about it in a book.

Also, it took me quite a few books to figure out that first drafts are made to be destroyed, so good for you:)

T. Anne said...

Honestly I think I am my toughest critique partner. I try to visualize my work from my favorite authors POV and have "her" take a red pen to it. Boy is she tough. ;)