Tough Love comes in all shapes and forms. We use the expression when we train our children, discuss something with our spouse, or train someone in our field. Tough Love means we love you, but in order to improve you, we have to say something you may not like.
I have had writers ask me to edit or read or give an opinion on something, but sometimes what they don’t really want is the truth. It is very hard to help someone in the field if they truly don’t want to know the reality of their work.
Tough Love is what we give. Thick skin is what a writer needs. Now when I say thick skin, I don’t mean jaded or calloused. But if someone wants to learn how to be the very best that they can be – no matter what the field is, they need to keep it non-personal. If someone says something about your writing (and I have had an entire battery of different things said about my writing), you have to know how to receive the information.
For example, you have just finished your latest (or first) masterpeace. You have spent a year writing, editing, lingering over every page. IT IS PERFECT, right? No!
Our Brains lie to us
We are not good editors of our own work because our brain lies to us. When it reads a sentence we have written, it sees what we intended to say. It does not always see what is actually imprinted on the page. Our brain and eyes translate it to correct language.
Now having said that, I am not saying you should not edit your work! Heaven forbide! Go over it until you are cross-eyed! Put it through a grammer software program. And then, find someone else to read it. Editing and correcting are the very best way to get it ready for publication.
Writers’ Espresso has been helping our writers with some of the information they need to get their works published or prepared for self publishing. We want our authors to understand that we are here for you. We want you to be a success in whatever genre, venue, or publishing experience you wish. But we will use touch love where it is needed.
We are not just sucking this out of our thumbs, as the expression goes. We have experience in this. And, we also had to learn to develop some thick skin along the way. Yes, even we bruise when corrected. But instead of taking it personally, we analyse it. Is what we were told valuable? Is it true? Fact or Fiction. Can I fix it.
Lets use examples. Lets say you hand your work to five of your friends to read. You tell them to tell you the truth as to what they think about your writing. You are now going to get five different answers. One might rave about it and tell you she or he was enthralled all the way through it.
The second one might say how much they liked it, but did not understand this part or that part and you have to explain what they missed. A third one said they thought it was okay, but not their type of book. The fourth said they found a bunch of grammer errors, but do not give you any hint as to where they are. And the final one said they did not have time to read it.
Everyone sees it differently
Now out of all these, which review will help you improve your story? All that read it have helped. The one who thought it was written by the gods – the first one – well it made you feel good about your story. The second one’s questions shows you that you must ensure that the sections that they did not understand are as clearly written as can be. Perhaps it needs a little more information.
However, the third one has not really helped because they are giving you no information about the writing itself, but it does show you that not everyone reads everything and that is okay too. The fourth person’s comments may or may not be accurate….unless they are an English teacher. Even then, it depends on what voice you are using. BUT BEWARE – if your grammer is poor, publishers will not touch you. They do not have time. Make sure you have used whatever means you can to get the grammer up to snuff!
Now the fifth person orginally told you they would read it, but they did not. Well, they may have been busy. Or they could be jealous that you wrote something and they did not. Or they read it and became jealous over what you wrote. Competition, jeoulousy, and pettiness can easily enter into the framwork of writing critiques. This you must weigh into the mixture too.
Tough Love is Necessary!
If you are a very serious writer and want your work to stand out in a crowd – be prepared to hear critics that will dismay, encourage, frustrate, and most of all – help to mold you into a confident and established writer.