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In My Hands

29 Jul

Have you ever come up with the perfect comeback hours after the original insult? I have. Now I have the perfect retort to unwanted parenting advice, but what about unwanted pet parenting advice? Apparently, the parent wars are not limited to children. Mary says she gets doggie mom advice too:

Because Roxy is such an incurable chow hound, whenever I have her and food in the car and I stop for gas/a quick trip into the post office etc, I take the food out of the car and leave it on the car roof. And then I count the number of people who say “hey, lady, you’ve got a bag of food on your roof.” Yup.

Oi-vey.

Mary had a great response to this week’s question as well:

Sometimes, unsolicited advice is valuable: I really value the reminder that I love semicolons at little too well. Other times, I struggle against it because I feel the criticism entirely lacks direction. I have been told “I don’t like it. Any of it.” So far, my response has been to press for more insight. If I do, the critic MIGHT then report not liking the issue because it wasn’t what was expected…Again, when pressed, the critic admits displeasure because the work doesn’t sparkle, sizzle, pop, play music or spring to life with talking video commentary. Seriously… I admit that I am running out of coping mechanisms …Maybe I’ll tell the critic that my nephew eats broccoli, which hopefully will confuse him long enough to get out myself of his office.

If you have any ideas for Mary, other than telling the critic about her nephew’s veggie diet, please post them here.

It is hard for me to listen to writing advice I don’t really want. Unfortunately, getting unwanted advice is part of the writing process. Subjecting writing to others’ opinions is often an important part of polishing a work to prepare for submission. Even if a work is accepted for publication, it will most likely need to be edited before going out into the world. While giving this unwanted advice a fancy name like critique doesn’t make it any more pleasant, there are other ways to survive it.

I try to remember that, even when subjecting my writing to critique, the power is still in my hands. I decide whether to take the advice or cast it aside. 

I’m not saying I don’t take any advice. I’m open to change if it improves something. I even sometimes try out a change before I reject the advice. But, if I took every piece of advice to heart, I’d have writing that isn’t true to me. Or a kid that never goes outside and doesn’t eat broccoli!

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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Revising

 

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