I’m thinking a lot about awareness, lately. Self awareness. Knowing my flaws, being able to take criticism, and working towards self-improvement. Of course, as you can tell from the way I’ve been writing these blog posts, I believe that most life wisdom can also be translated into writing wisdom.
If you’ve been in a workshop, you know what it’s like to spend 45 minutes talking about someone’s work and then listening to the author for 15 minutes defend their work against all points of criticism.
Don’t be that person.
It doesn’t matter if the story “actually happened.”
It doesn’t matter if the characters dictated the story in some mystical writing process.
Part of serving the work is improving the work. A huge part, actually. I’ve seen writers get slaughtered in workshop and then limp around–I’ve been one of these. I’ve been slaughtered in workshop and then limped to the bar. I was less mature then.
It’s a matter of maturity, of course, but an ideal writer already knows what the flaws in the story are before anyone reads the draft. An ideal writer takes unanticipated criticism home, sleeps on it, and then, when the emotional response has dissipated, re-reads the story to see if the critic is right.
Writers must be ruthless at self-improvement–self-writing-improvement. A professional chooses story over ego. The critics aren’t always right, but a writer who defends their work to critics is always wrong.