I got a message today from an angry author who criticized my writing after I critiqued his. Sure, my comment was probably a bit too blunt, but this author branded himself as blunt, so what made him react so harshly to my words? Did I hit his sensitive spot? Was his ego damaged by my – free and uncompromising – opinion? How could he not take my words and simply ignore them if he didn’t like them?
This is what my childhood dreams have come to. I sit by my computer and I type relentlessly. I try to find the right prose, the right sentence that will make the reader laugh or cry, shiver or squirm, and I wonder, what talent do I have? How can I be so pretentious and believe I can be better than others at this? How can I know people will read my stories and actually like them and understand the message hidden behind them? So many questions. So many doubts. So much fear and hesitation.
Do I really want to put myself out there and receive praise? Do I really want to put myself out there and be the target of despising comments? Do I really want to experience the good and the bad, mostly the bad…? Will I handle it well? Will I be able to react rationally to every remark? I promise I’ll let my pride go… My ego will shut itself down and I’ll listen to everybody, without discrimination.
I’m no better than this writer I insulted a few days ago. I deserve the same passion. I stand on the edge of a cliff overlooking a steep ravine and at the bottom I see a little river. If I jump, I’ll die. But if I don’t jump, I’ll be stuck on the edge of the cliff forever, and I’ll never know what my dreams were really made of. I taste the sweat, I taste the blood, I taste the fury of a crowd who really hates my guts. I also experience true bliss. I fly like a bird and I feel the air supporting my wings. I am invincible.
So what will it be? I know what I’m capable of and I want the world to see it. Bring it on. I’m ready. I look down and I close my eyes. Then I spread my arms, and I take the biggest leap of my life.
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Amen, sister! You just have to take that leap, Johanna. There are so many possibilities when you do. Standing on that proverbial ledge is nice and safe, but you’ll hate yourself for the rest of your life. That’s what drove me: all of the regret that I would have as an old man who didn’t try.
TY Jimmy!! I know, I’d rather try and fail than not try at all. *hugs*
You don’t know how far you can go, if you never take that first step.
Criticism is a must for writers. Our ego is fragile, but over time we have to develop a tough skin, otherwise we lose a bit of ourselves every time a reviewer doesn’t say what we want to hear. I’m a better writer today because my critique partners and site reviewers picked my work apart and helped me make it better.
You sound like you’re game and you have taken the leap! Way to go!
Thx much!! 🙂 I know I have to develop that tougher skin, but I always welcome critique. And if somebody tells me my work sucks, well I’ll be hurt, but I’ll listen. I know I won’t please everybody, but I want to be a better writer overall.
Johanna – Thanks for putting into words how I’ve felt since starting this same journey! It’s good to know there are others on the path feeling the same emotions. I don’t feel as screwed up and alone! Thank you for sharing!
Absolutely!!! TY! It’s an adventure worth experiencing. I take the good and the bad and I’m ready to rock and roll!
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