Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blogging Challenge P(ride)

Pride can be a good thing ... or a bad thing. We saw much trouble it caused for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
Colin Firth is the epitomy of Mr. Darcy, btw.
Pride has a lot of interesting synonyms as found on thesaurus.com:
amour-propre, delight, dignity, ego, ego trip, egoism, egotism, face, gratification, happiness, honor, joy, pleasure, pridefulness, repletion, satisfaction, self-admiration, self-confidence, self-glorification, self-love, self-regard, self-respect, self-satisfaction, self-sufficiency, self-trust, self-worth, sufficiency
I've bolded the ones I think have the most positive connotations. I think it's important that writers have some pride because it's tied so closely to self esteem, which we need to have if we wish to take risks. You know what I mean. The risks like the first time you let someone read what you've written and you open yourself to hurt and ridicule. Or the time you finally send out a query, knowing--KNOWING--that you will be rejected. Until I started writing I never realized what a hazardous trade it could be. But pride is also a reflection on the quality of the work we wish to share with others.

Pride also has negative connotations. Unlike Athena, writers don't spring fully formed with flawless grammar, brilliant plot ideas, delightful character development, and an unlimited vocabulary. It takes a lot of work to learn the craft--and a willingness to take feedback.

We need to be confident in what we write, but we also need to be teachable, which can mean humble. So one of a writer's balancing acts is to have pride (confidence) while being humble.
That's no small feat.

Do you struggle with pride and being teachable? Are you too teachable, finding it difficult to stand up to criticism and therefore are forever trying to change your work to be what others want it to be?

How do you find the balance?

6 comments:

  1. What an awesome post, Donna.

    Humility and a reality check should always come with acknowledgement of talent and self-belief. I think it comes with experience.

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  2. Great post. Like anything, I think writing (and more importantly--putting your writing out there) requires a lot of personal balance. Sometimes you get your legs knocked out from under you but you have to be able to stand back up--okay, maybe not immediately.

    I think the hardest place to be is when the outcomes of the publishing pursuit are interwoven with self esteem. One bad review or one more rejection--complete personal meltdown. That is when some of the ugliest pride related rants bubble up. For the person, the work has not been rejected, they have.

    Like all that puffed up persona is really just hiding the quivering mass of jelly behind it.

    But, now that I think of it, some people are just a#$es--plain and simple.

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  3. I had all intentions of posting a thoughtful reply, but Colin Firth distracted me. I agree 100%--he's THE Darcy. No one else comes close. :)

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  4. That's a tough balancing act. Rejection is really important. It teaches and it toughens, but it can also make a writer bitter and unteachable if they don't have some voice of mederation either inside themselves or in the form of a good friend who can say, "Don't give up, but consider that there might be value in this criticism." And sometimes that value is more in pointing out a problems exists than actually identifying the problem. That's tricky.

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  5. Powerful and so true! I just want to get the words down and then know, my grammar is weak. I really need to find a class for Dummies or at least by the book. All great points; it is the art of learning and remaining confident...tough road to travel. BUT, so worth the journey~ I enJOYed this~

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  6. Pride can be good--especially if you keep it up. "I'm good enough to write a great book that lots of people will love." ALSO "I'm good enough to fix my mistakes." The only reason to be hurt by a critique [pre-publication, anyway] is if you don't know how to fix the problems--but if you remember that you're good enough to fix them, you can take your crits with a grateful smile.

    Now, once it's published and too late to fix them, that's when you keep reminding yourself that not everyone will like everything. :)

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"A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion." ~Ludwig Wittgenstein

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