Today, due entirely to my own…let’s call it hubris…I received a lot of advice. Sadly, it felt like moralizing and lecturing. Well, some of it felt like advice. And that was nice, the advice-feeling advice. All of it was even solicited advice, and let’s face it no one likes the askhole: the person who asks for advice then ignores it, so I asked for it. The irritation I am now feeling, that is. Oh, I should probably start at the beginning.
Finnigan begin again
So, I made the error of following several links today from people whose opinions I usually respect only to find myself strangely offended by their words. I think they were well-intended ruminations, designed to caution and guide newbie authors like myself but had the exact opposite effect. I backed out of the articles feeling lectured at, chastised, judged. It colored everything I did today and had me feeling off-balance and hyper-critical.
It was the equivalent of leaving your bedroom feeling slightly fabulous only to hear: “Are you going to wear that?”
Now all of a sudden you see every pimple, every wrinkle, every frayed edge, every flaw. Instead of all that was right all you see is what’s wrong, even if the ratio of right to wrong never actually changed. There was never actually any problem to begin with, but all of a sudden I started looking for some, just in case. Suddenly the decisions I had made, while I was feeling perfectly happy and fine with them a moment before now I was feeling like, clearly, since this person’s opinion is somehow more valuable than my own, I am in the wrong. And that was when I started actually actively looking for advice instead of just stumbling upon it. I got some really useful advice and some not-so useful advice and when I realized that both were giving me the same sensation of panic-inducing inadequacy, and everything and anything I did was just wrong wrong wrong wrong, I stepped away from the computer and consulted with my Fan Club.
All three of them agreed that these truths remain unchanged:
1. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
2. If the advice comes from someone who stands to gain something from your compliance, feel free to ignore it (see #1).
3. If you are confident/happy in a decision ask yourself why someone is trying to destroy that confidence/happiness before you follow their advice.
4. Do you really want to know what is in that food?
Just some things to think about while you might be writing, editing, proof reading, blogging. Words have power. Intentions are also powerful things but in the end be mindful what you say, how you say it, and how it may affect others.
I suspect I could stand to follow that advice as well.