Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dare I Admit This?

I hate to admit this, and I'm hoping some of you do it too, so I won't feel alone. Please tell me you do. And if you don't, I don't want to know. Because that would mean you're either a better person than me, or that I'm full of pride.

Are you ready for my confession? Turn your back so I won't be embarrassed to tell you...

As I'm reading, I sometimes think "this isn't very well-written. I could do better than this! How did this person get published? They must be the cousin of the editor's next-door neighbor's dog groomer."

I know, I know, who am I to criticize another's writing when I've not yet published a book? And, you're right. I shouldn't criticize. Not just writing, but anything or anyone.

But the more I learn how to do it right, the more noticeable the boo-boos are.

I think the craft books and conferences and writing blogs are meant to teach me to correct and improve my own writing, though. Not pick apart others' work.

So, I repent of my fault-finding. But it'd still make me feel better if I knew you did this, too.


  1. Um, God loves honesty. I applaud you for enough writing savvy to see truth.

    Um, there's a lot of stuff out there that IS NOT well-written.
    Perhaps the message trumps the word choice, diction, rhythm (or lack thereof.)

    We as writers can privately acknowledge such things, then MOVE ON and use the gifts God gave US.
    Strive to write YOUR best to lay at the feet of the Lamb (I know you do, I'm just speakin' as the old teach here.)

    Speaking of, I've got a GREAT writer at my blog today (and a giveaway). Talk about WORD MEISTER!!

    Love you, girl.
    Wish I could'a been at the get-together.

    You inspire and warm the cockles of my heart.
    BTW, have you read Crazy Love?
    In Him,

  2. I do that too sometimes with certain specific things in a book. I figure everyone has their own style so whatever....

    Example, In one book, the lead gal was an EMT, she went to a house helped someone that was injured, then the person had fallen asleep. She then noticed that something was in this house that belonged to someone else. She took the thing out of the house and brought it to the family it belonged to and then told them where she had gotten it.

    Taking something from someones house and then breaking confidentiality laws would be immediate law suit in my medical dealings. That bothered me more than any writing challenges.

    Twillypop says that a lot(some) of the "getting published" thing is luck and I am tending to agree with her. :O)

  3. Sure do.

    The worst is when I look back at something I've written and get that dreaded feeling.

    Ah, room to grow. What a gift.
    ~ Wendy

    I totally do that. Then I rant to my DH how unbelievable it is they even landed a contract. Then he raises his eyebrow and then I retreat and realize how critical I sounded...
    lol ... no, you are not alone.

  5. You're not alone, Jeanette. The hardest part is when the author of what you're reading is your own child...that you homeschooled...and they're posting what they've written on a blog for all the world to read. SIGH!

  6. How dare you think such a thing??? I would NEVER, EVER think something like that...


  7. *gasp* You spoke my thoughts!!! lol

    Yes, I've thought those very thoughts. It was what made me write my first book, actually.

    Now someone else can read MY writing and smirk at the horribleness of it! ;)

  8. Yes, I have felt the same way. Can we really help it, though? We're passionate about reading, and not everything is going to be top-notch!

  9. Jeanette, I do it. For one thing, I get paid to be a good editor. As a medical transcriptionist, I don't dare send in work that's sloppy. Furthermore, it's just me - I can't help it. I am reading along (church bulletin, a book, newspaper, blog, whatever) and errors just jump out at me.

    Some stuff, frankly, is simply not good. Either the content is questionable or the actual writing is lacking. I can't help noticing that.

    Where I get into trouble is when one of two things happens:
    1. I compare and feel inferior when someone else is truly talented. Then I get discouraged, feel terrible about my own work, and it all tanks from there.

    2. I compare and feel SUPerior, noting their lack of ability or grammatical errors or whatever. This stinks, too.

    If you can share with us how to overcome both of these, I, for one, am all ears.

    Love ya,


  10. Rhonda: You really do have me on a pedestal, don't you??? Let me down!

    Lately, the Lord tells me more and more often, "Everyone has their own path." Whenever we compare, we end up depressed or prideful. Both are centered on self, which isn't healthy.

    Ask me how I know.

    As to the solution, the more time I spend in the Word, godly music, and prayer, the more focused my heart remains on the eternal, which gives me back my joy.

    I am far too little to be the center of the world, even my world.

    Love you!

  11. If I said anything other than "Guilty!" I'd be lying. It's so difficult not to compare our writing with that of others. Part of human nature, I guess. You know, that part that constantly needs affirmation of some sort. So glad to know that the Lord's not finished with me yet. There's something to be said for the phrase, "I'm a work in progress!" His plan for me is different than His plan for other writers. I'm looking forward to living out that plan and keeping my eyes on Him (instead of others!). Blessings my friend!

  12. My hand is raised in this corner. Guilty. But like many said, we are being trained to spot good or bad writing the more we learn and train--it comes naturally after awhile.

  13. Not only does it just come to those of us whose profession and brain wiring are linked with words, I don't think that's a bad thing. There is some truly awful stuff out there that should never have had trees wasted on it. The problem for us comes when we start to think we are somehow then more deserving or better or God is unfair or . . . you get the picture. It's the attitude of entitlement that slips in and trips us up, not the honest ability to say, "Wow, that's lousy writing." I hope I know that when I see it, or I'd better get out of the business!

  14. Hi Jen -

    My husband had a conversation with a respected judge years ago. The man admitted he had a hard time reading anything without his legal training kicking into gear.

    I'm not surprised this happens to us as writers. Perhaps the cure is to venture from the baby pool into the ocean and realize how much we still have to learn.

    And hand is raised.

    Susan :)

  15. Jen:
    I have to ask. Have you been in my head? I, also,have the problem of finding errors in church bulletins, newsletters, newspaper stories, a friend's self pubbed book. I saw these errors when I was thinking about writing. A friend was studying elementary education in college and they stood out to her as well.

  16. Nooooooooo need to be embarrassed about this! Sounds like we ALL do it. And it may be true in many instances, too. They were just fortunate to get their work in ahead of ours.

  17. I not only have thought this, I've said it out loud to my hubby. Then God threw me under His light and showed me this disgusting, icky, black gunky stuff stuck to the dark places of my heart and is helping me clean it off (it's not a fast power hose, but more like a toothbrush and bucket job). I call it "the gross stuff", but God calls it "pride". You are so not alone!

  18. I have NEVER thought that! (NOT!) ROFLOL!


  19. Oh, dear, here I thought that's what we were supposed to do. LOL

    I really do try not to be cynical when I come across a badly written book, but learn from it.

    Unfortunately, I'm not perfect & somethings think . . . I could have written this better. :)

    But that's MY thought . . . I'm sure the badly written book's author's mother (what?) raved over the book.


  20. I have. I do. I try my best to let that writer be that writer, and allow it to help my writing be mine. I guess we can't all write the same, so that pushes me to be better.

    Thanks for your honesty.

  21. Of course I do that. I especially dislike it when professionals goof up point of veiw. I work so hard at that and if they can't do it, how am I supposed to, I'd like to know? You can turn around now.

  22. Actually I sometimes look for typos on menus and the like :)

  23. Had to put this on here. I'm reading a book (the author has at least 6 others out) where she "tells" then she shows what she told with a few examples, then she "tells" again in the very same words she used before. How do they get away with this stuff?


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