Relentless

The only word that could possibly do justice to today’s weather is relentless. The wind is blowing at about 35mph, and gusting to around sixty, though I’m pretty sure that last night we were breaking toward 80. The Oxford English Dictionary (the thirteen volume version) simply defines this word as Incapable of relenting; pitiless. This is a pretty good description of what’s going on here. It would be cold without the wind, and when it’s cold, the wind seems to have so much more force behind it. The OED also contains this little gem on the word.

1798 Edgeworth Pract. Educ. I. 380 Few things can be more terrific..to the young writer than the voice of relentless criticism.”

I don’t know that I ever feel terrific about criticism, but I certainly appreciate it and find the result of responding to it close to terrific.

Taking compliments

In some ways this is an end of the year sort of post, and in some ways not so much. I’ve been working on my story idea for years. Though, it’s only been the past couple of years where I’ve gotten really serous and only the past year or so where I’ve gotten nearly manic over it. This spring or summer, I can’t recall which, I finally made the decision to confide in a friend and co-worker. The only other person really aware of this project had been my wife. In retrospect, I think telling someone else about what I’ve been working on was a good idea. A few months after I had done that, I arranged to take a couple of weeks off work to spend with the kids and also write. My employer does, after all, have exceptionally generous leave policies, and so it makes sense to take advantage of those where reasonable. Anyhow, after having confided in someone other than my wife and not feeling stupid or ashamed, I felt emboldened to mention my endeavors to some other co-workers. Again, I think a good idea. Of course, starting this blog has helped to in a rather unexpected way, it’s helping me to keep my confidence and motivation up.

One of the reasons it has been a good idea to tell others about the story, is the possibilities for review. I am always interested in hearing fresh perspectives. Yes, those can sometimes sour my mood to the point that I just want to set the story down for a while (I’m convinced this comes with the territory. If you’re an aspiring writer you’ve probably had this experience), but I also recognize these opinions are essential to the revision process.

So, from one of those reviewers today I got some feedback. I’m not going to lie. It was of the ego-inflating variety of  feedback that put a smile on my face. Something to the effect of: “I’m enjoying the story for what it is, and I’ve got a few nit-picky comments you ought to work out, but I need to read more before I can think about those.”

Holy crap! Maybe my stuff doesn’t suck! Then evil Dave says ‘Well, perhaps I’ll concede it doesn’t suck, but that doesn’t really mean it’s any good.”

This sort of internal dialog makes it super-hard to take compliments graciously, or even take them at face value. That said, I think what I need to do is simply say thank you, and leverage those compliments as motivation to continue writing, and continue listening to what others might have to offer by way of suggestions or criticisms.