Tag Archives: sticks and stones

Sticks and stones can break my bones…

10 Feb

Actually, I never liked that saying. Why would I care about names hurting me if someone’s breaking my bones? But there is a point: people who are throwing the proverbial sticks and stones and names can’t hurt you if you don’t let them.

I have an inner circle of those I can trust and an outer circle of everyone else. And levels within those circles. In Walking in this World, Julia Cameron talks about camaraderie (a word that I can never spell correctly the first time, incidentally), and the importance of having the “right” people around you. Those who know how to be supportive while offering constructive feedback. Here’s an exercise to see which of the following people should be allowed into your inner circle of trust:

Scenario: You just finished your first novel and you show it to your friends/critique partners/family members/whoever for their thoughts. You know that it’s only a first draft and it needs editing, but you want their initial thoughts.

Candidate A: “Hmm. It’s okay. But it’d be better if you’d do a story about sheep castration, since you grew up on a sheep ranch. You should write what you know. Did I tell you I wrote a story once?”

Candidate B: “This is a piece of crap. I know you can write better than this.”

Candidate C: “Hey, I like where you’re going on this project. I think if you weave in some of your personal experiences with xxx it will make this piece stronger.”

Obviously, in this situation, Candidate C is the ideal choice (although it’s not a bad idea to keep the occasional Candidate B around to kick us in the butt when we need it–kidding!).

What it comes down to is trust. I’ve had plenty of exposure to people who’ve had little snarky comments to make about this or that, looking like they’re happy for you but really trying to find a way to get in a dig somehow.

Here’s how you deal with it. Keep those people —————> here. As far away from you as you can shove them (figuratively, I hope).Image

That doesn’t mean that other people can’t try to hurt you. They can. But it is up to you to keep these “you-aren’t-good-enough-aren’t-smart-enough-aren’t-talented-enough” naysayers at bay.

I’m lucky to have several wonderful people in my inner circle of trust, starting with my fellow Chicks. If it wasn’t for these girls, I would’ve been too chicken to venture into the outer world of writing. I have a wonderful critique group as well. Do I still hear comments from Bitter, Party of 1? Of course. But I just smile and say, “Okay,” (in my head it translates as, “whatever dude”) and move along. I don’t think about them again. It doesn’t bother me at all, because those comments don’t filter through to me.

Don’t let them filter through to you.

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