On Critique and Perfectionism (A Rant)

I really had hoped to have this typewritten, but both of my SM3s are out of commission until further notice and my two Skyriters are as well. And the Princess still hasn’t arrived. And… and… and…

*sighs*

I’m typewriterless for a bit… *cries*

The Princess won’t be here until Tuesday. Going to be tearing my hear out by then.

The SM3s need to be serviced. One of them needs a full servicing, while Southpaw just needs the annual check-up. One Skyriter has been parted for the primary one I’ve been working on. It is missing a screw or two as a result. It functions, but it was never cleaned since its purpose, I suppose, was to be parts. The other Skyriter is still totally in parts. I found a shortcut on a few things though, so maybe it’ll go back together easily enough. I have a few ideas now as well if it works. ūüėÄ

Anycase…

What I want to talk — no, rant —¬†about is the concept of critique. Meaning, the act of giving positive, constructive criticism. Take note of the descriptors, if you please. These are key.

Any form of criticism that isn’t positive and constructive should immediately be ignored and trashed. Period. No questions asked. Even if it is negative yet constructive, trash it.

The whole point of a critique is to give ideas and advice. Simple as that. Point out stuff that really should be fixed. That kind of thing.

Now… on to the individual.

If you are the type of individual who immediately becomes defensive and shuts down upon any form of critique, positive or negative, constructive or not, for the love of all that is holy, do not take up writing.

You aren’t perfect.

Never have been, never will be.

I’m not perfect. I expect my stuff to be torn apart like some hyena having lunch upon some carcass.

Never have been a perfectionist and I’m damn well going to make sure I will never be because perfectionism is an illusion. One heck of a grand one. One generated by society at large. Women feel the brunt of it most often just as a whole. “Perfect beauty” is X Y Z. I’m not even going to get into that…

But what does that mean?

I would dearly hope that you would guess that hey, maybe, just maybe, your draft isn’t going to be your final. If you expect that from yourself, do not take up writing. Even the best authors in the world, the highest award winning, blah, blah, blah… They go through countless revisions, often, just to get their work ‘just so’.

Being a writer… some people can’t do it. I’m not saying don’t try. By all means. *gives paper, pen, laptop, typewriter, pencil, tablet…* Do it. I’ll support you all the damn way. Clear from helping you proofread and edit. To hey, maybe, giving you positive, constructive feedback. To helping you find a magazine or publisher or agent.

But¬†if your work comes back marked up to hell and back, don’t yell at me. Just hold a mirror up and yell. And after you’re all red in the face, put down the mirror, get some ice and some water, cool off and actually maybe read what is written.

You might be surprised that, hey, your idea is pretty darn great but it just needs work.

Now, is that so hard to hear?

\end{rant}

Bae

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A Month of Doctors and Stories

So, this isn’t typewritten, obviously… It’s because I’m working on the final proof for this story. At this point, it is literally just itty-bitty things like silly spelling mistakes that are notoriously¬†difficult to catch because our mind automatically corrects them.

This month… phew… well… This month is literally the month of doctors. Got my psychiatrist (who should be ecstatic to see my weight loss, but not too happy to hear about the recent mood swings and increase of agoraphobia) today. I’m having one of those days that I’d cancel on a dime if my partner couldn’t drive me or at the very least be with me. I’m actually becoming genuinely worried the Wellbutrin is losing its effect. Later this month, I’ve got a ‘catch-up’ appointment with my GP. Around that time, I’ve got a 6-month check-up with my cardiologist. (That should have happened last month, but… yeah, didn’t happen.)

I’ve plateaued the last two days, but it could be because I’ve switched up my diet a bit to increase protein. The result could be that I’m building muscle while burning fat so it causes a zero weight lost weigh-in.¬†I’m fairly confident that I’m not losing muscle and building fat — which is the other scenario. I’m trying very hard to not bring in powders. Aside from the asinine cost, they’re nothing but chemicals.

The rain will be away for a week or so. I should be able to restart work on the Skyriter as a result. I’ll need to do another cleaning first before its entirely done, but that is mostly touch-up. Some of the keys have begun to stick again, which wasn’t entirely unexpected. At least it is the same¬†keys that were giving me issues before. I’ll have to resort to using mineral oil and some powerful compressed air, I believe. The metal isn’t bent, so the friction isn’t originating from that. It must be gunk.

The story isn’t the original one I had intended to finish… It ended up being an¬†“End of the World” or “Apocalypse”¬†one that came out of no where. A sentence came to my head while I was trying to sleep during the “Great Houston Flood of 2015”. After that, I couldn’t sleep. I ended up staying up to write — good thing too considering the patio was really starting to flood and I had to wake up my partner to help combat the flood waters.

It’ll be going off to a few friends (4-5) for readings. One of them is really excited to read it after I told him about it. Hopefully it won’t let him down. It’s a different kind of story for that age old subgenre of science fiction. Well… not necessarily a different kind of story but a different kind of format since all apocalypse stories are effectively the same: something triggers something, that something is bad, that bad something causes horrific results — unexpected or expected, said horrific results tend to cause mass extinction or near to it. It is just one of those subgenres that tends to follow a formula. What makes each story unique isn’t necessarily the characters or the plot or what causes things to happen, but how it is presented.

In these stories, there are a lot of coincidences that I feel a writer can abuse. The protagonist just happens to be former military or just happens to know survivalist techniques or just happens to run upon a running car, as examples. Or, even better, out of the entire nation said protagonist is in, s/he just so happens to run upon a group of survivors.

I find these things far too convenient and, honestly, boring and repetitive. If I wanted to read about a military protagonist having flash backs and telling war stories to the group s/he’s found, I’d go read a non-fiction book about World War II. At least then, the dialogue wouldn’t feel stilted and forced and full of jargon just to “make the point” the protagonist has that background.

Anycase… /end{rant}

Got just over 30 minutes before my ride. Since this is the schedule for last week, it’s only a 45 minute ride. The week off really did a world of good for me though. My cruising speed (rpe 3-4, zone 2)¬†really has increased and stabilized between 16-17 mph. Before it was between 14-15 mph.

Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days.

Bae