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kcole7
Kristin

Mar 17, 2006, 10:37 PM

Post #1 of 175 (4679 views)
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Self-confidence and writing Can't Post

When I was in high school, I believed that I was a fabulous writer, and all of my teachers seemed to confirm this. However, as I've grown older, I no longer would describe myself as fabulous. Skilled or talented - maybe. Dedicated - definitely. Typically, when I work on a piece, I start out loving it, but as time goes on, I become more aware of its flaws. As I've read more and written more, I've realized that I have a long way to go before I can become the writer that I dream of being.
Over the past few weeks, my self-confidence has taken a bit of a beating. As much as I tell myself that I hate the snow, the rejection from Michigan hurt. Now, I wonder if I'm even half the writer that I think I am.

My question for all of you is: Is it okay to feel like I'm still maturing as a writer? Does that mean I should wait a few more years before pursuing an MFA, or is it okay to enter a program with the attitude that I haven't developed completely? I get a little intimidated by these boards; everyone here seems to have a clear idea of who they are as writers and what they want to achieve. My style is a lot different at 24 than it was at 22 or 18, but I still feel like a "work in progress." Is that okay?

I think I need a drink...


clarabow


Mar 17, 2006, 11:08 PM

Post #2 of 175 (4662 views)
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Re: [kcole7] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

You're only 24! I'm in my 20s, too. Don't feel like you have to be the next wunderkinds. The wunderkinds aren't that good, anyway.

Go your own pace. An MFA program isn't finishing school, it's a place to focus on your writing no matter where you're at in your evolution, as long as you've got drive and potential.

Have that drink, relax, and congratulate yourself for taking on this hard career path.


Jendago


Mar 17, 2006, 11:26 PM

Post #3 of 175 (4646 views)
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Re: [kcole7] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

My question for all of you is: Is it okay to feel like I'm still maturing as a writer?


The day I stop evolving as a writer, I want someone to confiscate my pen.



rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

Mar 17, 2006, 11:47 PM

Post #4 of 175 (4639 views)
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Re: [clarabow] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Great post, btw. These past few years have taken me from rapture to despair on a daily basis, so I know EXACTLY what you mean about self-confidence. I've had some extraordinarily, almost comically pathetic shots to my ego (experiences that still embarrass me to this day!). I would say--just cast your net wide, ignore rejection (or take the positive from it), and try to immerse yourself in projects and not think about the outcome. Just keep yourself in motion constantly and don't dwell on the negative (I know it is easier said than done!). These days I try not to think of myself as talented because I know the up-feeling will come with its corressponding down. I guess what works for me is--I just try to find writer-friends, enjoy writing, and keep my ego out of it. I try to think of writing as a lifestyle now (I keep on saying "try" because it is a constant effort). I try to be brutally realistic with myself--hope for the best, seriously expect the worst, and pray everyday. I'm not even religious, but I find that prayer focuses me and somehow keeps the selfishness out of my goals.

Don't worry--I think failure is really good for the soul. I honestly think so. It WILL be okay. I know a million people who got rejected across the board from every grad school they applied to and then just applied again the next year.


kcole7
Kristin

Mar 18, 2006, 1:15 AM

Post #5 of 175 (4625 views)
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Re: Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, everyone, for the words of advice. It's a relief to know that I don't have to feel like the next James Joyce in order to be a writer.

I think I'm going to start a new project tonight - something that's not for an application or a class. Something for me. It has been a long time since I've done that.


clarabow


Mar 18, 2006, 1:31 AM

Post #6 of 175 (4619 views)
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Re: [kcole7] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Everyone feels this way. You're not alone.

I mean, come on. It isn't just our writing we worry about. Have you ever had trouble sleeping because you know there are crazy emails you sent five years ago, or an embarrassing first draft in the hands of someone you don't like? We all go through that. Being a writer is h-a-r-d!


rooblue


Mar 18, 2006, 9:51 AM

Post #7 of 175 (4581 views)
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Re: [rapunzel1983] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

rapunzel - I totally agree: failure is good, probably even essential, to being a writer. We all know the stories -- The Sound and the Fury getting rejected by 23 publishers, etc. Even if some of those stories are apocryphal, the point still stands -- rejection is integral to our work as writers. I can think of dozens of avocations that we could have chosen that would have been easier, but we didn't. That's why having a peer community, whether online or actual, is so essential, and to me it's the most critical piece of grad school. The community is what matters, and we can build that without or without the formal structure of an MFA program.


knjay
Nick Kocz
e-mail user

Mar 18, 2006, 1:51 PM

Post #8 of 175 (4538 views)
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Re: [kcole7] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Self-doubt in the face of rejection is a perfectly healthy response. Last year, I applied to a couple of prestigious programs-- one rejected me outright and the other stuffed me onto a waiting list that proved to be the equivalent of a rejection. I was crushed. At the time, I viewed the rejections as proof that my writing showed so little promise that further study was deemed a waste of time. And it took about a month (maybe longer) of deep, hard soul-searching before I decided to continue writing.

I say that self-doubt is a healthy response because the alternative approach would be to smugly throw up one's hands and declare the whole MFA admissions selection process to be a rigged affair of hush-hush back-scratching designed to reward a least-common-denominator approach to writing. That kind of reaction, in the long run, won't serve you well.

What you have is an informed opinion that your particular writing sample was not as strong as others submitted to the program. (This opinion does not extend, of course, to other stories you may have written; nor is it a peek into the crystal ball judging the future quality of your work.)

Artists who are still in the formation stage (like I trust most of us are) should not be impervious to criticism. Take the inherent criticism of an MFA rejection and use it to build your artistic fire. Realize that your work can be stronger, and learn how to make it stronger. Work on the assumption that persistence is the great equalizer. And reward yourself for having (as your earlier note mentioned) already raised your craft skills several notches over the last few years.


HopperFu


Mar 18, 2006, 3:25 PM

Post #9 of 175 (4520 views)
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In Reply To

My question for all of you is: Is it okay to feel like I'm still maturing as a writer? Does that mean I should wait a few more years before pursuing an MFA, or is it okay to enter a program with the attitude that I haven't developed completely?

Well, first of all, if you've developed completely, there's no point to getting an MFA, is there? It's supposed to be a learning experience, and if you've developed completely, there's nothing left to learn. I've said many times that it would have been a waste for me to get an MFA out of undergrad. That is for me specifically, because honestly, I would have frittered away the time. There are plenty of younger writers who will get a hell of a lot out of an MFA program, but you do have to be honest with yourself and where you are in your life. As for getting rejected, it sucks, but it happens. I've had a really wonderful year, but it was preceded by a number of very dry years (though some of that goes back to my ability to make use of my writing time, etc.).


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Mar 19, 2006, 6:15 PM

Post #10 of 175 (4452 views)
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Re: [kcole7] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I think for most writers there's an inevitable ebb and flow of confidence. What helps, I think, is conscious recognition that in the end you simply can't tell how good you are. It's like trying to see your own eyes. And besides, it's not your determination to make. You're writing for others, not yourself.

What has been more important for me than confidence is faith in myself. I've had highs and lows like any writer but through it all I've believed that even if the work wasn't good enough right now it was going to be good enough if I kept working at it. Finally I'm in the home stretch of a good MFA program and starting to publish well, but it's taken me close to half of your 24-year life span, and that seems about par for the course except in rare cases, even if you're coming in with talent. Patience is essential.

The working-at-it part is about three-fourths of the battle. That means not just writing diligently, but reading voraciously, and finding writing community, and setting up your life so your art can be a priority, and doing all the other things that make you a writer rather than someone trying to write. You need talent, but a little talent can go a long way if the other parts are there.

I think 24 is young for an MFA program because you probably haven't had enough regular life to sustain the rest of your writing career. You don't want to be professionalized too soon; you don't want to be one of those writers who don't have anything to write about except writing. But that's just one writer's opinion, and I'm 45, so I'm probably biased. The best writer in my program is 26 (our average age is 40). But she has a rich non-writing existence.

And yes, you need a drink. Cheers.


poetastin


Mar 19, 2006, 9:16 PM

Post #11 of 175 (4417 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you mean to say you still can't go back and experience your old work the way a reader might? That is my biggest problem, now, still working toward my third decade: I read old stuff and can still recite the lines from memory. I try to determine how a reader would experience it, and make edits accordingly, but fail. At some point, I'd like to know how good (or bad) my stuff generally is...you know, to other folks...


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

May 26, 2006, 3:09 AM

Post #12 of 175 (4310 views)
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Re: [poetastin] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

In the waitlist discussion, we talked about having "something to prove" as a writer.

Anybody feel that the opposite works the best for them? I happen to really like professors who are very sweet. I know this makes me sound unserious and wussy, but whenever I put anything out, I put in tremendous effort--it's not just an experiment for me.... harsh criticism is alright; I've had a lot in my life.... but it just makes me cranky and depressed and paranoid and less willing to take risks.

I had a prof once tell me that she felt my whole story was a "puppet show." completely contrived.

like, that didn't do anything for me whatsoever. now when I look at work that's actually good, I still think, "puppet show," and it leads me to think there are problems even when there aren't.

well, put it this way, if a prof doesn't resonate with the spirit or the overall concept of my work or the protagonist, then I see no point in continuining the relationship.


sibyline


May 26, 2006, 9:59 AM

Post #13 of 175 (4301 views)
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Re: [rapunzel1983] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

i personally don't prefer harsh comments because i want to be able to prove myself. i prefer them just because i'm much more likely to know about things i do well rather than things i do poorly, and need work on.

i think it's pretty important to try to separate yourself from your work as much as possible. when i look at comments, i try not to think of them as positive or negative, but rather as useful or not useful. i've occasionally heard useful comments that are also praising, but on the whole, the ones that have pushed my work have pointed out aspects that i haven't noticed before.

i try not to base my worth as a writer on the opinions of other people. i know that i have things to write about, and that's pretty much enough. i have no control over other people's reactions and know that they are contingent on a range of factors that have nothing to do with me as a person.


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

May 26, 2006, 4:19 PM

Post #14 of 175 (4266 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I dunno. Maybe I'm just an arrogant person, but I don't agree with most super-harsh criticisms of my work. I just don't agree. I would never have written it if I didn't like it. Usually my work is very polarizing. You either love it or you hate it. There's no sense for me in taking people's opinions if they hate my work, and generally if you harshly criticize it, you just hate it. They wouldn't like it ever, even if I did fix it. So in that case, I don't appreciate super harsh criticism. I don't think I've ever had a useful bit of it.

The woman who thinks my work is a puppet show would STILL think it's a puppet show even though the people who accepted me at ____ and _____ and my agent dont think so.

If you don't like Romantics and if you don't like super long sentences in Nabokovian style, you just would not like it. Ever.

I have a feeling that certain MFA programs out there--would reject Lolita for admission. Everyone is free to have an opinion, but not everyone's opinion should be counted--most in fact, should not be counted. And if you think about it, most people's criticisms are too-colored by their own personal biases. Just think about it: why would you EVER have to say anything harshly if you were not in a bad mood? I just think that all harsh opinions are tainted by personal issues and should therefore be discounted.

I mean, you could open any book and rip it apart. Look at Mysteries of Pittsburgh, a fantastic, best-selling book. You could easily say it was pointless and should never have been written. Why should we care about these characters anyway? Like, what makes them worth reading about? And The Great Gatsby. What a ridiculous book. Daisy is a ditz, not worth loving. And Gatsby is just rich. what else makes him interesting? And Catcher in the Rye. That whiny boy who repeats the same words over and over again. Not to mention Jhumpa Lahiri's Namesake. A whole book on a guy's name????? and his uninteresting parents. and in that dreadful, plain style?

I love all those above books, but what i mean is that--when someone's being harsh with you, it's generally for some non-writing-related reason--I just think harshness is unnecessary and unproductive. if you disrespect the concept of the story, the style, the spirit of it--something major--you should just keep quiet. its not going to help the person to know you hate it.

Like John Gardner says, very bad writing and very harsh criticism should never even enter into workshop. what good does it do except embarrass everyone?

I could pretend to be super mature on this board, but I prefer to be honest. And the truth is, if you hate my work, you probably hate me as a person. And vice versa. thats just the truth. Yes, it would be great if we could reallly separate ourselves from our work, but I don't think it's realistic in a way. We put our blood and energy and money and time into it--we sometimes choose to write over hanging out with our friends and family---how could it NOT be emotional? And why work if it's not emotional? Of course I'm not stupid. I'm not some whiny brat who insists everyone like her work. But the sad reality is that I DO get upset when people don't like it. It's just the truth. Somedays, you just have bad days.

The bottom line: it is not necessary to rip anyone apart since everybody can be ripped apart and since ripping apart is a sign of the ripper-aparter's arrogance and bitterness and general unhappiness and overall biases.


HopperFu


May 26, 2006, 4:37 PM

Post #15 of 175 (4260 views)
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Re: [rapunzel1983] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

   
Um, boy, I think you're going to have a rough transition to your MFA program. Not everything you write is going to be good, and in fact, some of the stuff you write during your MFA program is going to suck. If that's not true, then you don't need to bother with an MFA program.
I'm a very good writer. There's not a lot of question about that. But sometimes I write stuff that isn't very good, and sometimes my readers - very smart people who like me and who respect my work - give me very harsh criticism. Sometimes I disagree with them, but I always consider what they say, and sometimes that harsh criticism has helped me to make a work significantly better.
On the boards here you often talk about how much of a hurry you are in to get published, and here's the thing, getting published in and of itself isn't the hardest thing in the world. Getting published well, getting acclaim, getting consistently better, and making a life of writing are, however, are comparable in difficulty only to making it as a movie star or pro athlete.
If you want to benefit from your MFA program you are going to have to listen to harsh criticism - criticism that sometimes rips your work apart - and learn from it. If you were a good enough writer already that you didn't need serious criticism, you probably wouldn't be going to an MFA program, you'd have a book published that everybody on the boards would be using as an example of a book they loved, and frankly, you probably wouldn't be bothering to post here. You may become that kind of writer someday - you have mentioned repeatedly that you have an agent based on your senior thesis or something like that.
There will probably be some people who criticize your work because they don't like you or your attitude, but more often than not, your MFA colleagues and profs will criticize your work because they are trying to help you make it stronger.


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

May 26, 2006, 4:57 PM

Post #16 of 175 (4257 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

A rough transition to your MFA program?

Excuse me, I find that very condescending. In a public situation, too. What makes you think you have the right to judge who I am as a person and how difficult it will be for me to transition to a program? And to provide that opinion in a public situation with the attitude, as if you know everything. I think it's unfair to judge people like that.

How many times in workshop have I encountered people whom I think should never write ever ever ever again?

A million times, but what would be the point of me saying: "I think you have no talent. I think you should quit. I think you have no storytelling ability. What are you doing here? You're such a horrid writer you should be sterilized and commit suicide."

I DON'T MEAN technical, close-reading serious criticism. I mean criticism that attacks something major and sweeping about the writer--and offers something very judgmental about the writer's personality and abilities.

This is what I mean about harsh criticism. OF COURSE I don't have a problem with criticism. Dude, I'm not that stupid. I know you have to be criticized and practice and be disciplined in order to improve.

And I NEVER said that I didn't write crap and that nobody should criticize my work. I meant that if someone has something really nasty to say, I don't appreciate it.

Destructive criticism has no place in a creative writing workshop. This is not that bizarre of an opinion. There are many professional writers who share this opinion and some profs at my alma mater who share it, too.

But I'm going to take the higher road and suggest that perhaps we just had a disagreement on what defines "harsh criticism."


(This post was edited by rapunzel1983 on May 26, 2006, 5:01 PM)


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

May 26, 2006, 5:14 PM

Post #17 of 175 (4254 views)
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Re: [rapunzel1983] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't mean to come across as arrogant about my work. And if I have on this board, then I apologize. I do not think I am super talented or anything like that. I wasn't even intending on going into creative writing because I didn't think I was good enough. I ended up in this field because I couldn't get anywhere doing anything else.

I work pretty hard to put something decent into workshop. I would never even workshop something unless it was revised several times and read by a few peers who thought it was good enough to merit discussion.

Given the careful attitude I take toward workshop, I don't appreciate haphazardly harsh remarks. In fact, the "puppet-contrived" prof and I decided to part ways. It was her decision. She said she didn't resonate with the spirit of my work and that it would be better for me to work with someone who appreciated me more. And it was like a 180 degree difference. I got another adviser and I matured swiftly under his constant praise. He was very kind to me, and I worked the hardest I have in my life to be worthy of his praise, and everything worked out beautifully.

This is what I mean. That sometimes it is just a matter of appreciation.

Well, I think this whole argument has been my fault. I already know how i feel about this subject, and i won't change. I will confess I was probably just bored and looking to spark an argument by giving a startling opinion about criticism.


HopperFu


May 26, 2006, 5:15 PM

Post #18 of 175 (4254 views)
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In Reply To




Quote

Excuse me, I find that very condescending. In a public situation, too.

It's a public forum. I wasn't trying to be condescending, but if you don't want people to respond to you publically, don't post. In your first post you basically said that if somebody didn't praise or like your work you weren't going to listen to them...

Quote

well, put it this way, if a prof doesn't resonate with the spirit or the overall concept of my work or the protagonist, then I see no point in continuining the relationship

Now you are saying ....

Quote
I mean criticism that attacks something major and sweeping about the writer--and offers something very judgmental about the writer's personality and abilities.

Well, duh. That's not criticism of the work. That's a personal attack. I don't think anybody would argue with you that you shouldn't attack somebody because you don't like them. Unless you are on a playground, and then all bets are off.


sibyline


May 26, 2006, 7:50 PM

Post #19 of 175 (4234 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

just to take a really specific example, if a professor called my story a "puppet show," i personally wouldn't dismiss the comment offhand, or conclude that the professor simply doesn't like my work or my style or something i can't change or improve. it's harsh criticism, and i would definitely take it seriously. i would look at my story and think about what aspects of it led to her having that impression, and then i would evaluate whether her interpretation is one i care about. if i don't, then i throw out the criticism. if i do, then i find ways to account for her critique that at the same time continues to honor the integrity of the story i want to tell.

so in my opinion rapunzel, the comment by the professor you cited wasn't personal, you're the one who's making it personal. and as unrealistic as it is to try to separate ourselves from our work, i believe it to be a really worthy goal, just as we're all striving to write the perfect story or novel even though we all know that there is no such thing.


HopperFu


May 26, 2006, 9:07 PM

Post #20 of 175 (4223 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the way Sibyline puts this. I do think you have to weigh each comment or critique and see if you believe that critique - harsh or not - is accurate. Over the course of a workshop or an MFA program, you will probably find that certain people's comments resonate more than other people's, but I still think you need to consider all of the comments. One of the most useful comments I ever got about a story was from somebody in a workshop who I thought was a complete tool. In the case of that specific comment, however, she was on the money.
I'd also agree with Sibyline that it is important to try to seperate ourselves from our work. That's the only way to take criticism and do anything useful with it.


__________



May 26, 2006, 11:10 PM

Post #21 of 175 (4215 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Boy did I waste an hour typing up a super insightful post, complete with exciting anecdotes, only to have it erased!

I'll have to settle for the gutted version:

Rapunzel, it's toxic to assume that, because an accomplished teacher/novelist may write in a different style, they don't understand your work. Your advisor was not mystified by your beautiful Nabokovian style, like some Inca blinking at Cortez's boom-boom sticks for the first time. More likely, she passed you along because you didn't heed or even appreciate her efforts.

How can you trust a swift maturation if constant praise is the only possibility? (Answer: you can't).

Pointing out flat characters isn't an indictment of your ability, let alone your entire being. Geez, can you imagine if everyone in workshop shared your attitude? I'm better than all these retards, who might as well just quit, but please don't question my plot because that means you hate me as a person! Furthermore, I am not a bad person, I write like Nabokov and you wouldn't admit Lolita if she applied here, so bugger off! Seriously, would you want to share work with that person?

Here's something that helped me out a couple of years ago. Join the listserve, chat room, or e-mail discussion group of some of your favorite complex and long-sentenced authors. These will hopefully include people much older and wiser than you--accomplished scientists, journalists, semioticians, and the like. Read their work (some will be scribblers and inevitably want to share). It'll be much easier to sort out the shortcomings in their work, rather than your own. Hi-light everything bad, amateurish and laughable. Distinguish Author X -inspired prose from the barely disguised imitations. Dwell on the differences. Note why the fan work doesn't ulitmately stack up to Author X's work (chances are, no matter how language obsessed or postmodern the author, it may just boil down to workshoppy things--plot, round characters, etc.). Now go back and read your own work with these things in mind. Chances are you'll see it in a new light. I did this, a year after I turned in some superficial revisions to a teacher who just didn't get where I was coming from, and improved my work substantially. It helped me more than any workshop, and it also changed the way I view criticism from those short sentenced, character obsessed teachers and peers. Who would've thunk it?


six five four three two one 0 ->


Clench Million
Charles

May 27, 2006, 4:40 AM

Post #22 of 175 (4195 views)
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Quote
I just think that all harsh opinions are tainted by personal issues and should therefore be discounted.


Hmm.

This is a pretty sweeping statement. You have never had a harsh opinion about a piece of work? And if so, you always thought it was due to a personal issue you had? You've never just felt something was crap and it was crap because of the work itself, not your own oedipus complex ruining your judgement?

The fact of the matter is, most writing is crap and even at the MFA level most is mediocre. A harsh reaction is not a sign of a personal issue with an individual writer. I've had very negative reactions to work on the first day of workshops to people I don't know at all, and if you have ever taken a workshop so have you.

Perhaps you mean all harsh opinions that would be expressed in public (ie a workshop) must be the resault of personal issues. That might be a little more defnisible, though I still think it is a crazy reaction. Frankly, it sounds a bit like rationalization. "No one could ever legitmately hate my work, they must have some <i>personal issue</i> clouding their judgement of my masterpiece."


Quote
If you don't like Romantics and if you don't like super long sentences in Nabokovian style, you just would not like it. Ever.


Really?

There are lots of people who are only mildly interested in literature (not a problem, to be sure) who might just like one style or another and discount all others, but anyone seriosuly interested in literature should be able to appreciate anything that is true quality. I've often foudn myself appreciating masters of styles I was not particularly interested in, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. So most people, I think, would indeed like "Nabokovian style" sentences sometimes even if they don't normally, if those sentences were really good.



I sympathise with some of the sentiment behind yoru posts in a way. A lot of criticism, even in the workshop setting, is crap. You quickly learn whose opinions are worth paying attention to and who simply can't critique others work. At least 90% of the criticism I've gotten has been utterly worthless, no doubt. But the idea that anyone with a really negative opinion of a piece has some personal grudge is just naive.


Quote
when someone's being harsh with you, it's generally for some non-writing-related reason


When I'm harsh with (a theoretical) you it is 100% for writing-related reasons.


ETA:
The following really sums up what strikes me as absurd in Rapunzel's post, its a better quote than what I quoted before, so I'm editing it in:


Quote
And the truth is, if you hate my work, you probably hate me as a person.


Really, so no one could ever legitemately hate your work? Every single human who doesn't know you (and thus can't hate you as a person) must like your work?


(This post was edited by Clench Million on May 27, 2006, 4:50 AM)


Clench Million
Charles

May 27, 2006, 4:44 AM

Post #23 of 175 (4194 views)
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Quote

I dunno. Maybe I'm just an arrogant person, but I don't agree with most super-harsh criticisms of my work. I just don't agree. I would never have written it if I didn't like it


This is the completely wrong attitude to take. You shouldn't look at someone's overall opinion of your work, especially if negative, and say "oh, I should either agree and change everything to what he likes or disagree and change nothing." Obviously you wouldn't have written the work if you thought there wasn't any value, so obviously you will never agree with a complete dismissal of the work. A good writer won't follow whatever random advice he gets from a reader, rather he will try to see what value said reader's comments have and see in what respects the reader's comments were correct.

Chances are, almost any real criticism will have some amoutn of truth contained.


augustmaria


May 27, 2006, 8:34 AM

Post #24 of 175 (4188 views)
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Re: [rapunzel1983] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

(Note that this is not meant to be combative or condescending in any form.) You have serious *guts* to compare your work to Nabokov--I admire that confidence. My "big project," the writing that made up my writing sample, is centered around a relationship between a fifteen year old girl and her forty-seven year old English teacher, and even one of my LORs pointed out that my work "resonated Nabokov in both thematics and wit," but I still shy far, far away from any Nab comparisions. This may be due to the fact that I've read lots of Nabokov, not just Lolita, so I know his breadth and I know that I will never, ever be anywhere near old Vlad Nab. Besides, I'm not too good with writing snobby, male, Old World protagonists.


sanssoleil
Chris
e-mail user

May 27, 2006, 1:51 PM

Post #25 of 175 (4166 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Self-confidence and writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Rapunzel--
I really don't understand why, if you're not willing to take seriously the (sometimes harsh, yes) criticism of your peers, you have decided to attend an MFA program. I don't have experience with writing workshops, but having been in numerous filmmaking classes as an undergraduate, I can tell you that the students with your distaste for criticism alienated everyone and usually made bad movies to boot. They treated class as a chore, or as an opportunity to cozy up to a professor, or as an ego-boost. They fancied themselves destined for fame and success, and I wondered why they bothered showing up at all.

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