No Right or Wrong: Finding Your Own Way

Over the internet’s relatively short life, I’ve learned a few truths about it:

1. It’s awesome for video and tabletop gaming with friends all over the world

2. It’s optimal for solo, clandestine, adult adventures in the dark (or so I hear)

3. It’s the ideal place to share awesome advice and insight from the heart, only to be told that you’re a clueless moron who should give up their aspirations and dreams and remove themselves from the gene pool, stat.

The internets. Serious business.

No one really has time for me to yammer on and on and on about number one. No one wants to hear me awkwardly try to explain what little I know about number two (you know I’m incapable of writing romance and erotica — especially if I’m prohibited from adding explosions and ninjas). So let’s go with door number three.

In the creative world, there’s a process for every craft. Think of it as a large, square map. Everyone starts in the top, left corner. Everyone crosses the finish line at the bottom right. Between those two points are a massive tangle of roads, parks, aqueducts, flight paths, subways and bicycle routes.

So which way do we go?

The fact is, everyone’s process is different. Your method might be the strict triathlon of a trained athlete (run, swim, bike) while someone in your close circle is a little more Grand Theft Auto (beat the crap out of a few people, hijack a taxi and mow down half the landscape).

Not only is everyone’s method personal, it will continue to evolve as they get stronger in their craft. I look back on what my process was like when I first decided to seriously pursue writing — and it looks nothing like it does now. Even when I did things that could be considered wrong, it was part of my journey. It’s like being a teenager. Everyone has to do stupid things in order to be better.

So what I’m wondering is: Why are we all jumping at the first chance to tell newbies that they’re wrong? Isn’t it a little discouraging? I mean, I’m glad we’re so passionate about what we do and how we do it, but this is starting to be a little much.

The local writers' group gets ready to brawl with their cross-town rivalry writers' group who refuse to meticulously plot.

Naturally, I read a lot of agent and author blogs — but I’m a lurker. I’m not much of a commenter. This week, one of the posts I saw was an anonymous question to an agent. I won’t get into the details, but I could tell this person was a very new writer and I decided I wanted to comment. So I click out of my reader and into this blog. And I must say I was kind of miffed at some of the harsh, “know-it-all” responses. Some of them were a little mean. I can’t imagine how I would feel if those comments were directed at me.

So my question is: Isn’t it good to let people take what they think is a shortcut or let them cut through a park or get into a little fender-bender? If it inspires them to write and be better every day, then I say no harm no foul.

Keep at it. I’m in your corner.

4 thoughts on “No Right or Wrong: Finding Your Own Way

  1. I don’t think it is good to ignore mistakes if the person has specifically asked you to help them identify mistakes. In a casual setting, I think the old cliche “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is appropriate, but I think a writer looking for honest opinions deserves the truth.

    As far as people being mean on the internet, that’s just the way it is. Some people are nice to each other because they like to be, and some are jerks deep down who act nice only to avoid the consequences of being mean. In person, we can’t tell the difference between these two types. On the internet, with consequences removed by the illusion of anonymity, true personalities show.

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  2. I agree, that’s just how the internet goes. Some people need to chill out. Unfortunately this anonymous person only asked a question — they weren’t asking for a critique. They got one anyway. Ah, the internet.

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  3. I’m with Kerry. People can safely hide behind their screens – thus, their ugly self comes out. I’ve seen it dozens of times, especially with anonymous responders. They go berserk on people. To me it makes no sense.

    Perhaps it’s because I sort of grew up with the internet? I don’t behave differently on the net than in real life.

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  4. Ugh I accidentally clicked send early -.-

    Anyway, some people just don’t realize that the stuff they say to others through text can be just as hurtful as if they had said it in their face.

    Ah well.

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