In other news – Writing Day 27 – Earlier this year, I read a book on the craft of writing that was wildly popular when it came out, but at this point that was almost 20 years ago. Considering that my favorite craft book is from 1938, I was not worried about this mid 90s whippersnapper. I wondered if I should get the kindle book so I could see the words, and by force of habit I ended up in the 1 star reviews, which happened to be only 5% of the reviews, but over 100 reviews nonetheless. This is sometimes how I choose what to read. What did the people who absolutely hated the book have to say? As I read the reasons why it was hated- and I mean hated, I noticed something. Whether or not someone has the right to be…everyone is a critic.
I think this has become something of an expectation because of competition shows like American Idol, The Voice, or ANTM. People who at times are not even seasoned in what they are judging (they just happen to be famous) sit down and pick you, your looks, your voice or your dish apart bit by bit. Just so, these critics shot down this book by page. I read as people who probably don’t remember a time before lives in front of a screen talked about how archaic the author’s use of the word “typewriter” was or how inconceivable it was that she had to mail – you know, snail mail – her assignments into work! They protested -The way we work now, many of our assignments must be turned in within the hour it is assigned! This author is so out of touch to write about such things, how can she expect to teach us anything?
Well, the author was writing of how she turned in her work at the time – not telling you to turn in your work the same way. Also, something tells me that she no longer turns in her work through the US Postal service, just a hunch.
Most disturbing to me was the point at which her writing was written off as…clearly talentless. A person who probably has never published more than a major paper, – is so sure of themselves that they can deem another writer- a writer who has published 20 books…talentless.
I think as long as something can be taught – and writing can be taught, it is…foolish to deem anyone talentless.
Don’t be so busy listening for a shout that you miss the whisper.
Don’t ever think of yourself as so important, so hip, so highly educated, so beyond ever needing help, that you cannot learn something from someone who has been a writer, maybe far longer than you have been alive.
So no they cannot tell you about building your platform and managing your social media, no problem, just pick up one of the 100 other books focused on just those topics and educate yourself there. Don’t write people off (no pun intended) because they haven’t, and wouldn’t do things the same way you have. Learn from every source you can.
And by the way, if your critique is not constructive – you might just be a hater.