“without Constant Reader, you are just a voice quacking in the void.”
― Stephen King,
O.k so I’m twisting Kings definition here somewhat, but up until lately my parents were the only people who consistently and faithfully read everything I wrote. Starting a blog seems to have changed that a little. Just under two weeks in and already I’m starting to see familiar names popping up in my notifications tab whenever I receive a new ‘like’ or comment. Thanks for that guys. It means a lot.
I’ve always sent my stories and poems to Mum for beta reading. (And Dad for proof reading – he’s a senior member of the grammar police and it’s led to some interesting discussions about it’s use, especially in poetry.) As soon as I’ve finished my first draft, even if it’s gone midnight, I put it straight in an email and send it. I know full well they won’t find it until I’ve called sometime the day after to tell them it’s there but I send it anyway. I’m lucky to have such supportive parents.
Although, I have to admit, sometimes my mum is a little too supportive. I love that my mum firmly believes I could write and publish a book if I applied myself but all the ‘gentle nudging’ in the world won’t make the task less challenging – or daunting.
Although I’m sure she’s happy I’ve started this blog and, as a result, am ‘writing more’ now. In fact, I know she is because as soon as she found out she added the link for my blog straight to that little bar at the top of her browser. She’s read everything I’ve posted to date. Thinking about it, she’s probably reading this righ…
Hi mum. I love you. x
Anyway, I seem to have gone off thread a little here. I hope I’m not waffling too much although I’m sure my Mum will tell me if I am. She’s always been a kind but fair critic – unlike my dad, who’s just a chronic critic. I always know when a piece is finished because dad tells me it’s good, except for the spelling mistake in the third paragraph and the misuse of a comma halfway down page two.
So far, my parents tell me, the ‘aliens’ story didn’t quite work as well as ‘potato’ although both are well written and it would need to be longer and more drawn out to get enough build up in there to really pack a punch. My blog pieces are interesting and my first poem was fun and very ‘me’.
However the poem I posted last time didn’t work for them at all. they said they could see what I was trying to achieve but it didn’t quite work. It didn’t flow well and the words didn’t really make any sense.
Now all poetry is subjective, not everyone is going to like or even ‘get’ the same stuff. I know this, just as I knew it wouldn’t be my parents thing when I posted it. I know it in the same way my parents knew I’d try to justify my stylistic choices the moment they dare suggest it might not be quite up-to scratch. I saw the amused look they shared as soon as I uttered the word’s “But it’s not supposed to flow….”
It may have taken a while for my brain to catch up with my mouth, but eventually I managed to shut myself up (although I couldn’t help pointing out the four likes it had received first.) I’d like to feel I’m pretty tough skinned. That I know the value of honest feedback, even when others are telling me stuff I don’t want to hear; and that’s mostly true. Unless it’s my parents.
I suspect they will always bring out the inner teenager in me. Luckily, after the initial ‘you don’t understand, you’ll never understand!’ tirade, my inner teen tends to storm off in a huff and slam the door behind her, leaving the slightly more adult me to mull over that advice in my own time.
My parents might just have raised so valid points about that last poem after all, I was extremely overtired when I wrote it and I ‘might’ have been trying too hard to be ‘clever’. See, I can accept criticism with good grace. Eventually.
Without criticism and feedback, we can’t grow as writers. I’m sure my parents role in providing that has already played a huge part in getting me this far and I’m eternally grateful that they continue to offer it, even after all these years of ‘you just don’t get it!’.
I’m thankful to everyone who’s ever hit like, or left a comment on my blog, you’re all fundamental in helping me improve my skills and take my writing further. Please, please, keep offering your feedback, and don’t be afraid to tell me when I get it wrong. Perhaps it will help me get it right more often in future.