10.22.2006

Thoughts As I Go #3: Reader Disqualification

Paper Coach : Teach Yourself to Write (A Fiction Writing Course)

Working on Creative Activation (with The Right to Write), I was struck by Julia Cameron's comments on people who pick at little imperfections instead of appreciating the goodness of the bigger picture.

The sentence that really hit home was:

"...When people cannot see the larger picture of what it is we are trying to do, they will pick out some detail and pick at that."
- Julia Cameron, The Right to Write.

Do people in your life do this to you? If so, why? Generally speaking I don't have friends who are stupid, lack insight, or not inclined toward the arts. So if they miss all the good stuff and instead pick at small imperfections, what's the motivation? Do they imagine they are helping me?

I find at least two practical lessons here:

1. A nitpicky response immediately knocks a person off my list of readers. Why expose myself to that kind of disappointment for no gain to my writing?

2. When I offer criticism or suggestions, I will strive to always begin with what I think is good or what I enjoyed in someone's work -- without lying.

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