Friday, March 25, 2011

Feed-the-Writer's-Soul-Friday- Lessons From My Teenage Daughter

The past few weeks I’ve seen a connection between parenting and writing. As a parent I have learned so many things about my kids and myself along the journey, but the last 2-3 weeks I have come to really focus on two.
1)      My kids are not me. I know, this one should be obvious, but every once in awhile I need a big kick to suck that one down. They don’t see things the same way I do nor do they respond to things the same way I would.
2)      There is only so much control you have over your children. As much as you want to control their lives and the hurt that comes their way, you can’t. And maybe we really shouldn’t. Here’s why:

The past few weeks have been teaching times with my daughter. Long story short, her best friend turned on her. Texts, facebook posts. (And we all know the power of the word.) A horrible scene at a restaurant that resulted in my daughter leaving in tears.

Just as I’ve told my daughter through all of this, you can’t control what others say about you, only your response to it. As writers we need to remember the same thing. We are constantly told we must develop “thick skin”. There will be times when someone will say something about our MS that will hurt deeply.

 A few weeks ago, the first 250 words of my work-in-progress (WIP) was critiqued online. Twice, in big bold letters, they said that my work was boring for all of cyberspace to see. And while I nursed my wounds for a day or two, ok, more like five or six, I know that what they said was true and I’ve worked to fix it. As hard as this was to handle, I know it will happen again the more I take chances and put my work out there.

I have come to realize that what I’ve told my daughter this week is so true. In both life and writing we have no control over how others view us. We can only take what they have to say and chose to ignore it, or learn from it.

Improvement, after all, is what we are looking for. Our goal is to be published and that isn’t happening unless we share our writing and open ourselves up to the occasional growing pain. So go ahead, share your passion with others. Tell people you are a romance writer. Let people read your work. It will be worth it in the end!



  1. Okay, I want a chapter to critique!!! Smiles and support are coming your way. I've been there, done that...on more than one occasion. So have we all (so okay, I can think of a couple of exceptions) but the rest of us poor writing souls have!

  2. Hi Michelle!

    I have put my work out there only to have it roasted and toasted! It's tough, it hurts but all we can do is learn from it. No one is perfect and some of what the Critiquer says may be right, some maybe, not so much. We have to learn what works for us, and what doesn't.

    There are so many RULES in writing, and sometimes it seems like they are under lock and key. AND no one wants to share!!!

    I am guilty of being highly critical of myself, thinking everything I write is terrible to the point where many times I've wanted to quit. But I can't. Writing is in my blood- whether I have a published book in my hand or not. So we push forward.

    I have FAITH in you Michelle, you can do it!!! You have the heart and that's half the battle!!

    As for your daughter, sounds to me like someone is jealous of her... she needs to be the better person and walk away. Let it run off her... Like the old addage says, "If they're talking about me they're leaving someone else alone."

    Easy for me to say I know. But anyone that would treat her like that is soooooooo NOT worth her time. Best friend or not!

    And you're right, our kids do NOT react to situations the same way we do. I've learned that so many times with my now 19yr old. I can't tell you how many times I stare at him and wonder where in the world he came from. AND even more, if he ever listened to a single word I have ever said, even once, in his entire life! lol, funny but true!!

    You and your daughter need to HANG IN THERE .... I see the light at the end of the tunnel!!!!

    Michelle, I would be willing to critique a chapter for you as well! I only offer suggestions NEVER criticism!!!

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Thanks ladies! I appreciate your comments. And yeah, we're moving on. :) Give me a little bit more time and I'll get my first chapters to both of ya.

  4. Michelle, it sounds like you need a new critique group. Perhaps because it's online, the critiquers feel a cyber-buffer and aren't quite as tactful as they should be. Try joining the Celtic Hearts Critters, or check nearby schools and town organizations for writing groups and workshops. And good luck with raising that daughter!

  5. Thanks Pat! This was an opportunity to be crited but a duo who were starting up a crit blog. I thought it'd be interesting to send them my work and see what they had to say. One of them was wonderful and offered help. The other one just wrote over and over about how bored she was. SO-learned a lot, but it did hurt. And I'm part of Celtic Critters, just want to get my first draft done and together before sharing it. :0) Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!!