Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 19 of Summer. Conclusion: Still Glow-in-the-dark White.

Hello again, everyone! It's been awhile, I know, since I posted last. I just...feel like I don't want to be bothering you with useless blog posts, as not very many interesting things have happened to me as of late.

Well, that's not necessarily true, but the things I find interesting aren't necessarily interesting to others. I did play a riveting three-hour game of Would You Rather. I think my friends and I go way more into depth on the prompts than is probably necessary or considered good. When asked if we'd rather be one of five surviving humans scattered across Earth or a survivor on a distant inhabited planet, we took into consideration that you might rather know the human race will continue without you rather than be one of five humans left in the globe. It was then argued that you probably wouldn't last too long on an alien planet where you don't know anything about the place or what's good or not good to eat, sleep on, walk over, etc.

Short version: Nerds are probably the best people to talk over your plans with. Whether it's for world domination, an impending apocalypse, or whether or not you should buy a certain outfit.

Anyway, I guess this blog post is both an apology for being so late and a little mini-lesson from me about how to take criticism. I actually got a critique today from someone on Hexbound (a miracle, if you've ever visited the site. That place gets about as much activity as a nursing home.) and, while reading it, realized that people (myself definitely included in the bunch) need to learn how to take criticism. I see it all the time with writers, students, and people in general. The classic reaction is to defend oneself or lash back out at the person. But we can't expect to improve if all we do is rationalize our shortcomings away, right?

So that's what this little mini-list is for. Because we all could stand to remember these things.

1. They wouldn't say it if they didn't want you to improve.

You hear this a lot, especially in class. Whenever I rip through someone's paper with my handy-dandy red pen, people tend to complain about all of the marks. I actually had this happen to me freshman year when I was fifteen. I had edited a kid's creative paper (of course, a strong area of mine at the time, being a bookworm and a returning writer) and practically covered it in comments, suggestions, and red pen. He started criticizing me for marking up his paper and my teacher walked over and told him, "You know, you should be thanking her. The more ink on that paper, the more she likes you. If she didn't really care whether or not you did well, she would've just noted a couple grammar mistakes and given it back. But she wants you to get a good grade on this and make it good, so she ripped it up. Don't ever ask a woman to do something, because guess what? She'll do it. And she'll do it well." If someone criticizes you on something, it'll probably hurt. Maybe a lot, maybe just a smidge. But it's better that they want you to be better than to just leave you as you are.

2. If it is said, take it to heart.

This point is where it gets hard for writers, especially. For us, our works aren't just mounds of black letters forming words, sentences, paragraphs. Writing is a dangerously personal profession, and a lot of writers - myself included - consider our manuscripts like our babies. They require care, attention, effort, just about everything a real baby does besides food and diaper changes. So when someone criticizes something about it, it's hard to look at it and change it. You love it so much, you feel so connected to it, it's like someone is personally criticizing you. But when they do, you have to realize that your opinion is not the only one that matters. If someone thinks that way, there's bound to be others who think so, too. If someone says (I'll use the example I got today) that some of my descriptions seemed to 'try too hard'. My automatic reaction was to lash out: what do you know? There's a point to that description. But I remembered this point again. If that reader thought so, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of others who think the same thing. It's worth taking a look at.

Last but not least:

3. Life is all about improving yourself.

You're never too old to change, and you're never too young to be stubborn. Remember the first two, and the third comes easy.

Backspacing and white-out wands,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What Time is it? SUMMERTIME.

If you got the High School Musical 2 reference, you get a cookie. My friend and I made them yesterday. ^_^

But yes, it's now officially summer for me! Technically I got out this past Friday, but I had so much to do with testing and college searching and weddings and other crazy things that I didn't really get to relax and fully soak up the fact that it is now officially summer until yesterday, where it was too cold to go outside and play around so an awesome writer friend of mine and I made cookies and pie and then watched Disney movies. It was a great way to kick off my summer vacation.

What does this mean for me? Writing. All day, errday, I'll be doing my best to be writing. I have some summer work to do, but it seems to me that I can do those during my breaks for food. Just reading and annotating two books (my favorite thing to do besides just pleasure read), reading a textbook (less fun), and figuring out documents to support whether or not we still follow the Constitution in the United States. No big thing.

Although summer is the perfect time for me to finish The Artist, I've also gotten other plot bunnies I'm tempted to explore. They're all sci-fi/dystopia, and I'm totally pumped for them. Their tentative titles are Preparatory and Surface. So you guys might be seeing some of those up on Wattpad soon!

Here's to Summer 2013, whether you spend it soaking up the sun or chilling at a desk, make it great!

Summer sun and starry nights,