Monday, June 2, 2008

How nice is too nice?

...(thank you, Alice--in case you didn't catch my belated comment on your blog. :)

For those of you who've never heard my soapbox adoration of Gina Welborn? She's my heroine. She told me the truth about my writing when I was lost. She showed me loops, and links, and pointed me to books on craft, and gave me stern lectures on writing, crit, people and internet etiquette.

I spent years paying it forward to pay her back, and I'm sorry she left RD. Sometimes people grow--not up, but out. Sometimes growing means leaving people you care about, because they don't grow with you. Not in an adult kind of way, but in a common viewpoint way.

To me, Romance Divas is a nest. Every fledging needs a place to learn before they can fly on their own. Back when I desperately needed a nest, Gina, in her Yodist view of the world, talked me off many high horses. I couldn't figure out why--if I was okay with it, other people didn't appreciate truthful crit.

The truth will set you free, I said.

--those virtual rocks hurt.

Gina said, sometimes people aren't ready to hear the truth. And over the years, I've come to realize writing is like the Twelve Step program. When it's over, when you can't see see the light because the hole is too far up there, and it's only you crying, "I don't understand?? What am I doing wrong?" You have to let go, and let God.

I'm painting it as a religious thing, but it doesn't have to be. It's the simple, gut deep realization that you can't do it on your own.

I can't tell from looking at someone whether they've reached that point, and it's easy to give crit that's taken the wrong way, because...hey, romance writers are nice people. We support and validate each other.

Validation is fine. To a point.

Once you get that self-confidence, it needs to go deeper, and form your world view. I'm a worthy person, and I'm going back to the Twelve Step method. Self affirmation. I knew this deacon, (like in a church-deacon?) who told me that God wants us to have stuff, but because of our self-doubt we fight acceptance. Maybe that's very Prayer of Jabez and a little pop-religious. But...how many times have we held ourselves back through fear of change?

There's a place for nice. But there's also a place for people who are truthful, and in a constructive way, point out areas of concern.

5 comments:

Alice Audrey said...

Just go ahead and hit me with the truth. I've had tons of people tell me how great I am. Sometimes I need to have the stuffing knocked out of me in order to make the necessary changes. And yes, it will make me shaky for a while, but eventually who I am will reassert itself and I'll go from there.

jodi said...

everyone needs to have the stuffing knocked out of them once in awhile. False praise doesn't do anyone good. Neither does hurtful spiteful crit, but...help. Hey, I'll take help any day.

Alice, you're a strong person. :)

Alice Audrey said...

Yeah. Strong like a beat up old alley cat.

Unhinged said...

Thank you for this. [smiles]

...how many times have we held ourselves back through fear of change?

Too many to count. I'm doing it right now, lol. Time for two scoops of validation.

sigh

Jeanna said...

I like stuff. Where's my stuff? Most people aren't ever ready to hear the truth and I'm a great believer in sugar coating. Mmm, sugar.