Thursday, October 20, 2011

When to Say No

We all have our two cents to throw into the mix. Do you remember ever playing that game where you had to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar and whoever came closest won a prize? I wonder what we would win if we threw all the proverbial two-centers in a jar and guessed how many everyone had tossed in willy-nilly. Yep, I digress.

The point of this post is not to actually discuss two cents, but MY two cents. On critiques. I must admit to being a pushover at times. I used to accept every comment that came my way a little too openly because I figured everyone knew more than I did. Well, that part's still true, but I came to realize something. Everyone knows more about their stories, about their writing processes, about their genres than I do. Not necessarily mine.  

Let me back up. There was a point while I was mulling over critiques that I realized how off one of them was for me. If I followed the advice, my story wouldn't be the story I wanted to tell anymore. It would be a completely different, very cool story in its own right, but it wouldn't be the one that has been screaming at me for the last couple of years.

I have received (why do I still want to spell received with the i first?) the best advice from those who have critiqued me and I am forever grateful for all they've taught me and the inspiration they've shared. Now I also realize that sometimes it really is okay to say no, too.

Fancy that. I hope y'all are quicker than I am. It will save you a lot of hours worrying!


  1. There's much truth to what you say. I think if we're hearing the same criticisms repeatedly, they warrant listening to. But others we have to consider carefully, and stay true to the heart of our stories.

  2. I just figured this out too! I still have the itch to change everything and please everybody though. But you know what, if I please everyone I won't be pleasing anyone. Especially myself. :)

  3. Hi Nisa, came over from ali's!

    Thanks for sharing this bit of insight because it's so true and so easy to forget. I know exactly what you mean about being kind of a pushover when it comes to critique. Part of me figures, hey this person must be seeing something I'm missing! But there is a point where we have to admit that maybe we know what we're doing with our story and stick to our guns.

  4. I used to be the same, receiving critiques and wanting to please everyone. I've grown out of that. I still appreciate the critiques, but if I don't feel they are right, then I'll easily say no.

  5. Oh yes, Nisa. It is fine to say no. I have done the same to a publisher recently! They wanted so much changed my book was unrecognisable. Stick to your gut feelings is my motto now.

  6. In the end, the writer has to take all the advice they receive, sort through it and see which makes the most sense to them. We have to be open to change, but in the end it's still our work.

  7. You are so right, and it's something we learn as we go. We accept feedback graciously because someone went out of their way to offer it. BUt we can and should disregard anything that doesn't ring true with us. I do it all the time. Plus, I've found what one CP likes, another doesn't, and vice versa. SO we'll never please everyone and shouldn't try to. :)


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