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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On Not Taking One's Self Too Seriously: Perhaps a Writer's Best Tool

Books on how to write fiction abound.  One advice that is constant in a great majority of them is not taking one's self too seriously--especially upon finishing the first draft.  I not only find this advice wise, but also see it as a deterrent to writers' block.
This is a pile of draft (some fiction, some academic research) next to my desk.  I printed the "Parish Newsletter" from "The School of Life" from the wonderful online lecture by Alain de Botton "On Pessimism".  The goofy Marx brothers glasses are rather necessary in not taking one's self too seriously.  The idea is certainly not a new one--expect the worst, and you shall be pleasantly surprised.  The trick is to not be disappointed when the rejection notifications begin to pile up.  That, I believe in my non-professional opinion, is more an issue of behavioral/psychological individuality.  How we take on rejection is in essence a matter of managing our tolerance for the same.  We work incessantly and we are not rewarded for our efforts.  It is a matter of perspective, of course, but in America (especially newer generations) perseverance is often spoken about but little applied.  Immediate gratification is the term on the streets.  de Botton explains that we mustn't take anything against us personally, and that not knowing failure signifies for him a half-empty life.  Writing is such a thing.  People who write are often called eccentric, rare birds, among many other names.  Bitterness accumulates and whatever eccentricities emerge from it have little to do with being a writer, or, more precisely, trying to write.  Rejections are not to be taken personal.  Most of the time, we don't even know the person sending the rejection notification.  Frankly, I am more afraid of a jury summons order or my American Express bill in the mail than I am of rejection notes.  It's a matter of opinion, and, as de Botton explains, it is a matter of perspective.

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At 2:37 PM, Blogger JJ said...

Terrific site! I am now your newest follower, and I invite you to follow my blog as well. Thanks.

JJ Botta – Freelance Writer http://jjbotta.blogspot.com/


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