Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#21
On the one hand, every writer should be ready to receive criticism, at least it is often said so, but ...

On the other, it seems counterproductive when it comes to amateur writers as they struggle day to day to continue to write the most serialized work, they desperately need the motivation to go on, it is not their job, there is no monetary compensation for going through it. Even though there are options like Patreon, it's not the main income, a large part of their motivation is your enjoyment and praise. 
If you tell them their story is terrible, what do you really expect them to do? 
What they can do? 
They can fix the wrong chapter, of course, but then what? 
They could strive to get better, sure ... but you actually need a lot of self-confidence that you can get better, otherwise you can just expect you will receive the same negative comment next time around, and all your work in your free time was for naught. Every human strives to be acknowledged, recognized, accepted, it is one of our needs, and if you don't get it in one place you will inevitably try to get it elsewhere. One that demands less effort than getting the story right. 

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is different for professional writers.
It is the day-to-day struggle for them as well, they do need to fight the writer blocks, etc. but their motivation is a little bit different. They don't need this immediate acknowledgment. They need to satisfy editors, mostly after a whole manuscript is written, and it is a hell of a pain to do so, but then they do get all acknowledgment and money when their book sells. Then they don't need to interact with the media if they don't want to and work on the next title. Which hopefully also sells well, while income from current books keeps them afloat. Unless there is money in actually interacting with the media, of course, they can give lectures and so on.

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#22
I am going to agree that as a reader you should be balanced in your criticisms. However, if there are problems with the work, then it needs to be pointed out. Essentially if the author wants their work published, then the editor is going to do the same thing.

If you're a writer and have no intention of getting published and this is just for fun, then there's no reason to care what other's say. Of course, it does depend on the thickness of one's skin.

Personally I believe all the criticism I received on my 1st draft allowed me to see my mistakes. Now my 1st draft is a beefy outline for my 1st and 2nd book. I think that the rewrite is a 1000% better than my first go. Yes it was 2 months of non-stop writing in the evenings after work and grad school. But that's the dedication one needs to see their vision become reality, right?

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#23

beast_regards Wrote: On the one hand, every writer should be ready to receive criticism, at least it is often said so, but ...

On the other, it seems counterproductive when it comes to amateur writers as they struggle day to day to continue to write the most serialized work, they desperately need the motivation to go on, it is not their job, there is no monetary compensation for going through it. Even though there are options like Patreon, it's not the main income, a large part of their motivation is your enjoyment and praise. 
If you tell them their story is terrible, what do you really expect them to do? 
What they can do? 
They can fix the wrong chapter, of course, but then what? 
They could strive to get better, sure ... but you actually need a lot of self-confidence that you can get better, otherwise you can just expect you will receive the same negative comment next time around, and all your work in your free time was for naught. Every human strives to be acknowledged, recognized, accepted, it is one of our needs, and if you don't get it in one place you will inevitably try to get it elsewhere. One that demands less effort than getting the story right. 

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is different for professional writers.
It is the day-to-day struggle for them as well, they do need to fight the writer blocks, etc. but their motivation is a little bit different. They don't need this immediate acknowledgment. They need to satisfy editors, mostly after a whole manuscript is written, and it is a hell of a pain to do so, but then they do get all acknowledgment and money when their book sells. Then they don't need to interact with the media if they don't want to and work on the next title. Which hopefully also sells well, while income from current books keeps them afloat. Unless there is money in actually interacting with the media, of course, they can give lectures and so on.

Now this is interesting. It seems that you are attributing motivation here to external factors, rather than internal ones. I think that's true to a certain extent, but would you stop writing if you did it alone? I'm sure some people would stop writing in the absence of praise or acknowledgement, but...some of us don't. I have a crazy number of stories I've written that will never be shared (and I have never had the urge to share them) which I wrote because I wanted to get the words out. No one knows I've written them, but I was motivated all the same. I don't think I'm that unique here--surely some motivation to write is internal, not only external? 

I don't think it's a good idea to yoke your passions to external factors, and most especially not to something as treacherous as approval. To my experience, this may feel good, but it may not be good for you. 

And I think you are quite correct about going elsewhere--I am a bit confused honestly, by why people choose RR with a "punishing rating system" (not my own words, but I can't remember who wrote this) over sites that have no rating system like fictionpress.com or AO3. I don't think it's possible to avoid all negative reviews in any system that has a public comment section, but there are certainly spaces where you do not need to get that type of feedback. I think even on RR you can disable comments, so if you really hate bad reviews...

I disagree with you about published authors. For every Stephen King or J.K. Rowling there are hundreds and thousands of writers who got published but were not popular or simply did not sell very well, and were forced to hang onto their day jobs. Many were likely dropped by their publishers--a deep and likely career-ending humiliation. The stakes are bigger for pros, not smaller, and if they do make it big, their personal lives come under scrutiny and everything about them will get judged, not just their writing. 


TheEternalScholar Wrote: I am going to agree that as a reader you should be balanced in your criticisms. However, if there are problems with the work, then it needs to be pointed out. Essentially if the author wants their work published, then the editor is going to do the same thing.

If you're a writer and have no intention of getting published and this is just for fun, then there's no reason to care what other's say. Of course, it does depend on the thickness of one's skin.

Personally I believe all the criticism I received on my 1st draft allowed me to see my mistakes. Now my 1st draft is a beefy outline for my 1st and 2nd book. I think that the rewrite is a 1000% better than my first go. Yes it was 2 months of non-stop writing in the evenings after work and grad school. But that's the dedication one needs to see their vision become reality, right?
Your response is too mature and even-handed for this thread, good sir. What on earth were you thinking???  peogiggle

Your novel looks interesting though, so it's now on my "Read Later" list. (But it also looks vaguely Greco-Roman or Roman, and now I'm wondering if this is a popular setting on RR, in which case I may have hosed myself with my own choice of setting. Oops.)

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#24


Quote:Evra-Kaze Wrote:
Ho no. I got found out. Me a French drinking maple syrup. Still, I think the issues lay more with the amount of time people partake in a certain skill. If you think about a painter, when he is starting and is a beginner, saying something like " your art is too red. " will either confuse them or help them. But lets say you tell the same thing to Picasso. For him, it could be hard to understand " your art is too red " since his skill and knowledge are to a certain standard. To really help him, you would need to describe what part is too red and why it is, compared with the other part of his painting. well... being Picasso he might get an epiphany and make a master piece from just that, but as the "maker skill increase" the skill from the "observer" also need to increase to still be useful. 

A lot of time, people that make comment don't have the energies, the times, or the will needed to craft an idea of value.
And often, it can be frustrating to not be able to understand something or to make use of it.
Both reader and writer need to be open to the other. This is something that can be hard to make happen.
Those that read and those that write have different objective and mindset. For some writer, writing is closer to a work while for the reader, reading is more of a pastime.
Some clash are bound to happen.
For me, I don't mind the hard comment since I am already close with failure as I wish to improve. So I make mistake and I realize them. Actively trying to put some hardship in my way. But it's something that can be tiring and why some don't take criticism well. Normally, no happiness come from being criticize. We are all human and human love happiness.
This is why giving compliments with criticisms is good.


I could have sworn I replied to this in the post that I just...posted...but RR seems to have eaten that portion. Strange. 

What I wrote (sort of): 

Haha, yes, it was very mysterious. It took some detective work. I'll never tell you how I figured it out! ;)

(I did not expect you to be from Quebec, though, unless the reference to maple syrup was a red herring...)

I'm not 100% sure I understood your post, so I'm going to summarize it. Let me know if I've missed something!

It looks like you're saying that matching feedback to the skill level of the writer is crucial. I agree with this, but I'm not sure this is the biggest issue or driver of the trends we see here. I do think there is a very important cultural subtext, which is often missed (what's water to the fishes?) but always busily working away in the background. Professionally, I have always tried to match my feedback to the level of the individual, but I definitely saw differences in response based on background (and personality of course, but that doesn't form in a vacuum, either). I don't think it's the only factor, but it is probably a factor. 

I don't believe anyone in this thread has disagreed that feedback should be balanced! Perhaps someone with a dissenting opinion will show up, though!

I'm not sure why you would define yourself as being "close with failure", since you are writing in a non-native language. Plenty of people can't even ask where the toilet is in a second language, so you should pat yourself on the back. 


Wyatt_Wriots Wrote: Thanks Bokhi!

My pleasure. Good luck with Writathon! =) 

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#26

bokhi Wrote:
beast_regards Wrote: On the one hand, every writer should be ready to receive criticism, at least it is often said so, but ...

On the other, it seems counterproductive when it comes to amateur writers as they struggle day to day to continue to write the most serialized work, they desperately need the motivation to go on, it is not their job, there is no monetary compensation for going through it. Even though there are options like Patreon, it's not the main income, a large part of their motivation is your enjoyment and praise. 
If you tell them their story is terrible, what do you really expect them to do? 
What they can do? 
They can fix the wrong chapter, of course, but then what? 
They could strive to get better, sure ... but you actually need a lot of self-confidence that you can get better, otherwise you can just expect you will receive the same negative comment next time around, and all your work in your free time was for naught. Every human strives to be acknowledged, recognized, accepted, it is one of our needs, and if you don't get it in one place you will inevitably try to get it elsewhere. One that demands less effort than getting the story right. 

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is different for professional writers.
It is the day-to-day struggle for them as well, they do need to fight the writer blocks, etc. but their motivation is a little bit different. They don't need this immediate acknowledgment. They need to satisfy editors, mostly after a whole manuscript is written, and it is a hell of a pain to do so, but then they do get all acknowledgment and money when their book sells. Then they don't need to interact with the media if they don't want to and work on the next title. Which hopefully also sells well, while income from current books keeps them afloat. Unless there is money in actually interacting with the media, of course, they can give lectures and so on.

Now this is interesting. It seems that you are attributing motivation here to external factors, rather than internal ones. I think that's true to a certain extent, but would you stop writing if you did it alone? I'm sure some people would stop writing in the absence of praise or acknowledgement, but...some of us don't. I have a crazy number of stories I've written that will never be shared (and I have never had the urge to share them) which I wrote because I wanted to get the words out. No one knows I've written them, but I was motivated all the same. I don't think I'm that unique here--surely some motivation to write is internal, not only external? 

I don't think it's a good idea to yoke your passions to external factors, and most especially not to something as treacherous as approval. To my experience, this may feel good, but it may not be good for you. 

And I think you are quite correct about going elsewhere--I am a bit confused honestly, by why people choose RR with a "punishing rating system" (not my own words, but I can't remember who wrote this) over sites that have no rating system like fictionpress.com or AO3. I don't think it's possible to avoid all negative reviews in any system that has a public comment section, but there are certainly spaces where you do not need to get that type of feedback. I think even on RR you can disable comments, so if you really hate bad reviews...

I disagree with you about published authors. For every Stephen King or J.K. Rowling there are hundreds and thousands of writers who got published but were not popular or simply did not sell very well, and were forced to hang onto their day jobs. Many were likely dropped by their publishers--a deep and likely career-ending humiliation. The stakes are bigger for pros, not smaller, and if they do make it big, their personal lives come under scrutiny and everything about them will get judged, not just their writing.


Would your story still exist if no one show up to read it?
In my humble opinion, you underestimate how much of our motivation is actually external (and by our, I mean all people, not just you and me, not necessarily the writers either)
How else do you measure your abilities as a writer than by the feedback you receive? 
You may purposefully ignore the negative feedback, and delete it where applicable, but you can't escape the fact you need one. 
Everyone wants to be acknowledged. 

Or I am an egomaniac. 
I can't entirely rule out egomania, one can't diagnose himself, after all, I think many other people do have the external motivation and my point of view isn't that outlandish.
Many amateur writers were shut down by the criticism.
Many amateur writers never become professionals because they were shut down by editors. 
They could've fixed the issues, but they eventually decided that it isn't worth fixing. 

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#27

beast_regards Wrote: Would your story still exist if no one show up to read it?


Yes. I have a physical hard drive, so it is, indeed, taking up space on a physical drive. Whether anyone reads it or not is immaterial to its physicality as data written into a drive. Similarly, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, it did make a sound, provided you define sound in physics terms rather than in psychological terms.

Now, it might not be relevant, but that's a different question. 

I'm not very fond of continental philosophy, I'm afraid.  


beast_regards Wrote: Would your story still exist if no one show up to read it?
In my humble opinion, you underestimate how much of our motivation is actually external (and by our, I mean all people, not just you and me, not necessarily the writers either)


Where did I make a quantitative claim on this? I said some of it must be internal. The degree presumably varies by individual! You might be right, of course; I might perhaps be underestimating something here. But I actually do think quite a lot of us are externally motivated, and that's why so many of us fall into the trap of chasing things (likes, clout, things, etc.) that will presumably make us happy (spoiler alert: They often do not. And if they do? Only very briefly). 

I stick by my advice here: extrinsic motivation is generally short term. It cannot beat intrinsic motivation in the long run. Your desire must be internalized to be lasting. I'm generalizing a lot, but this is RR. I think my core message here is reasonably supported by psychological literature, though. 

And as always: the approval of the crowd is not without cost. Some people think it's a fair price, but some don't. It's really up to you, I suppose. 


beast_regards Wrote: How else do you measure your abilities as a writer than by the feedback you receive? 
You may purposefully ignore the negative feedback, and delete it where applicable, but you can't escape the fact you need one. 
Everyone wants to be acknowledged.

But why measure it at all? Or why not measure it against what you produced a month ago? A year ago? Of course, I actually agree here--you do need feedback. But I don't think RR is the place to get honest feedback, because I've been on more than one thread like this and the general vibe is that the writer's feelings should trump frank feedback if it is negative. I don't agree, but my previous suggestion to close off comments and whatnot was in regard to the social contract: if you don't want negative community feedback, then just cut off the feedback. It's a two way street. If you shunt one side off, it's only fair if the other side does it too. Of course, some people do want feedback, but no critical feedback. Well, not sure what to say to that one, but I suppose if your readers agree with you, you might be able to manage it. 

It seems you've done a bit of a reversal in your response here, too, unless I've misunderstood your original post. Feel free to correct any misunderstandings on my end, here.  

My point is this: RR is a community, and the review game is a two-way street. Expecting only praise is unreasonable, just as it is unreasonable to expect a good reception to trolling or just uselessly negative comments/reviews. If you don't want the critical aspect of feedback, your only recourse is going to be to shut it off--but as you've said, most people want some kind of external validation. Well, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Well, you can try--but I doubt it'll work. For your writing to last as a hobby, my recommendation was for intrinsic motivation (pleasure in the act of writing, personal goals for improvement of your craft) rather than extrinsic motivation (ratings, nice comments) because the former will help you weather the critical feedback better. 

Of course, you don't have to take my advice, or even agree. But it'll be awfully hard to function in a writing community and grow as a writer if negative feedback kills your motivation completely. This doesn't mean you should take abuse--go ahead and MST3K the asshole in your comment section, that'd be hilarious--but valid feedback should be assessed for its merits and then assimilated or discarded. YMMV, of course. 

beast_regards Wrote: Or I am an egomaniac. 
I can't entirely rule out egomania, one can't diagnose himself, after all, I think many other people do have the external motivation and my point of view isn't that outlandish.
Many amateur writers were shut down by the criticism.
Many amateur writers never become professionals because they were shut down by editors. 
They could've fixed the issues, but they eventually decided that it isn't worth fixing.

It takes a certain level of ego (narcissistic traits, to be more precise--traits only, not full-blown narcissism!) to succeed in a lot of occupations. It's not wrong to have a bit of an ego provided it does not cause distress to yourself or others. A reasonable level of confidence, and even arrogance, is considered psychologically healthy. That's not an issue, as far as I can see, but your latter point is referring to something different: persistence. 

Yes, the amateur writers who were shut down don't make it. It's just part of the process in every discipline, which is why a lot of the people who make it tend to be...characters. But a big part of making it is just showing up consistently. Angela-Lee Duckworth calls this Grit, but the rest of us call it conscientiousness. It's an important trait, BUT you must also consider what trade-offs you are willing to make. If you feel like it's not worth it and you go into something else? That's fine too. Of course, this is RR and I assume hobbyists do it for fun. In this case, you can...shut off the comments and engage in the forums, I suppose. You have to decide what trade-offs are good for you. If you find that the comment system on RR doesn't suit you, there are "easier" communities and "harder" communities out there as well. Another option would be to advocate for changes to the review and commenting system that you believe would improve things for writers, but that would require (I imagine) some significant time investment. You can join smaller, more intimate writing circles locally, too. Usually if you're meeting "in person" people behave better, too. 

Honestly, if I were truly that bothered by comments I would just shut them off! 

(And naturally, I may end up eating my words someday because I suspect anything and everything I write will be unpopular everywhere, but alas. Such is the fate of internet writers everywhere.)

Holy Christ why do I always write an essay? I'm restricting my posts to 3 paragraphs max, I swear. 

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#28

bokhi Wrote: Yes. I have a physical hard drive, so it is, indeed, taking up space on a physical drive. Whether anyone reads it or not is immaterial to its physicality as data written into a drive. Similarly, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, it did make a sound, provided you define sound in physics terms rather than in psychological terms.

Now, it might not be relevant, but that's a different question. 

I'm not very fond of continental philosophy, I'm afraid.
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to witness it, the tree is demonstrably real as you can go there and touch it, measure it. But it is also inconsequential. Unless it falls on the road and blocks it, or falls on the cabin and destroys it, or falls on some unfortunate hiker. 

This is a bad comparison since I don't necessarily wish for anyone to be crushed under the fallen tree...
But if you insist to compare the story with the falling tree, then your story must be the metaphorical tree that crushed someone. 
That's the feedback you get for posting on any site, not necessarily this one.
Then it comes to what that feedback is.

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#29

beast_regards Wrote: If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to witness it, the tree is demonstrably real as you can go there and touch it, measure it. But it is also inconsequential. Unless it falls on the road and blocks it, or falls on the cabin and destroys it, or falls on some unfortunate hiker. 

This is a bad comparison since I don't necessarily wish for anyone to be crushed under the fallen tree...
But if you insist to compare the story with the falling tree, then your story must be the metaphorical tree that crushed someone. 
That's the feedback you get for posting on any site, not necessarily this one.
Then it comes to what that feedback is.


Ah, but you concede that it exists independently of human observers. Now the question is relevance (I suppose you refer to it as being consequential, though I don't personally think they are synonymous. There are implications to each choice). 

I disagree the tree is inconsequential if it does not directly affect humans. It will affect the fauna and flora of the of the forest, which will eventually impact everything in that ecosystem, including humans. To leave the analogy, the merits of writing lie not only in sharing. Sharing it does help with relevance, but writing can be a way to order your thoughts, or to vent. Some therapies have clients write, not to be published or read, but only for emotional catharsis. This can be effective and useful as well. If the individual changes as a result of their private writing, they will also likely impact their wider community in some way. 

To extend the metaphor of the feedback as tree--well, there's a lot of effects, aren't there? You can use the wood to create something--this is analogous to improving your craft. You can remain crushed. In this case, your remains may nurture others--other writers who have learned from your failure. Perhaps your fall has left space for other trees to grow--you no longer cast a shade and keep others from the sun, and there is space for new roots. 

Failure and adversity are facts of life. What you do with them is up to you. (Four paragraphs. Argh! Working on brevity...)

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#30

beast_regards Wrote: Would your story still exist if no one show up to read it?
In my humble opinion, you underestimate how much of our motivation is actually external (and by our, I mean all people, not just you and me, not necessarily the writers either)
How else do you measure your abilities as a writer than by the feedback you receive? 
You may purposefully ignore the negative feedback, and delete it where applicable, but you can't escape the fact you need one. 
Everyone wants to be acknowledged.
This is true, by several lengths, for any artistic craft, be it art, writing, music, singing, etc. The human mind is complex, but praise and criticism go hand in hand in developing an artist's skills. As they say, there is no growth without sun and rain. Our community is a thriving web of interconnected minds used (mostly) to join everyone together, to make them the best they can be, but to also show them where their faults are, what steps they need to take in order to reach that level of excellence for which a lot of us ultimately strive. If not for sites like Royal Road, a lot of careers may not even see the light of day. We should be grateful for such a service available through the click of a button. 


There are many ways to measure a writer's skill without the feedback you receive. But to give examples of such, one idea needs to be made clear: writing is immeasurable. It is an infinite, tangible magic with no known formula. The interest factor is truly all that matters in the end. What good is a story if no one is interested in it? What good is your own story if even you aren't interested in it? A way to hypothetically measure the greatness of your work is to see if you yourself are interested in it. If you are, then you've done something wonderful: you've achieved what you've wanted. If you're not, then in your eyes, it sucks. There is no tool we can use to dictate the quality of something so infinitely subjective. We might be able to gain an average of what is considered "good" and even "masterful" by societal standards, but in the end, there is no measure, and feedback does not entirely serve; it's far too broad to be narrowed down to a measurement. In the next century, what will be considered genius now will eventually run its tide and end up in the category of "amateurs". This has been proven already. Take a look at the classic novels from centuries ago: big words, purple prose, clunky sentences, weak plots, but for the time they were considered revolutionary. Nowadays, they wouldn't get a second glance from the average reader, let alone a literary agent. Today, we're seeing works become shorter and more simpler. Is it better? You tell me. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, writing isn't measurable. There is no formula, no way you can dictate a work's greatness. You must feel in it in yourself. As Stephen King once wrote: "The magic is in you." Other people's opinions don't matter. External validation exists for writers, but so does internal validation, and if we are to combine the two, we inevitably sow the seeds for a true measurement of writing, one that is decided by the writer him/herself through the feedback, both good and bad, given through external means. 

Source: Catapult


Quote:Many amateur writers were shut down by the criticism.

Many amateur writers never become professionals because they were shut down by editors. 


This belief would no doubt vary from person from person, but if you have a statistical input on this claim, I'd be delighted to know it. 


Quote:Where did I make a quantitative claim on this? I said some of it must be internal. The degree presumably varies by individual! You might be right, of course; I might perhaps be underestimating something here. But I actually do think quite a lot of us are externally motivated, and that's why so many of us fall into the trap of chasing things (likes, clout, things, etc.) that will presumably make us happy (spoiler alert: They often do not. And if they do? Only very briefly). 
I agree with all of this. Not only would I agree to the extent that some is external, but I would argue that, to a subconscious degree, internal validation is the only validation that matters, the only measure that allows a writer to go the distance. Sure, receiving praise is nice, receiving feedback is nice, but the human mind is known to lie. What we are shown about our work and how we feel about our work are very different. 


A study found that too much praise can lower one's [student's] confidence and give feelings of "doubt". (Source: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1983-10432-001)

Yes, these are younger examples, but I can attest as a grown adult that even I doubt what I see over the web. I doubt truth to be a liar, no matter how much praise I receive, I always backtrack to how I myself feel about my own work. Sure, positive feedback can aid in delivering that feeling of satisfaction with my writing, but it does very little, particularly in the long-run, to determine if I finish a book. My own measure of how good the book is decides that. 


Quote: extrinsic motivation is generally short term. It cannot beat intrinsic motivation in the long run. Your desire must be internalized to be lasting. I'm generalizing a lot, but this is RR. I think my core message here is reasonably supported by psychological literature, though. 
Not only is this true, but is has been proven to lead to a fixed mindset. (I.E. If one cannot live up to people's expectations, they crack under the pressure. Pressure that wasn't even there to begin with.) [Sources: https://blog.innerdrive.co.uk/the-problem-with-praise + https://www.psychologytoday.com/ie/blog/smart-moves/201411/the-problem-praise].



Quote:Yes, the amateur writers who were shut down don't make it. It's just part of the process in every discipline, which is why a lot of the people who make it tend to be...characters. But a big part of making it is just showing up consistently. Angela-Lee Duckworth calls this Grit, but the rest of us call it conscientiousness. It's an important trait, BUT you must also consider what trade-offs you are willing to make. If you feel like it's not worth it and you go into something else? That's fine too. Of course, this is RR and I assume hobbyists do it for fun. In this case, you can...shut off the comments and engage in the forums, I suppose. You have to decide what trade-offs are good for you. If you find that the comment system on RR doesn't suit you, there are "easier" communities and "harder" communities out there as well. Another option would be to advocate for changes to the review and commenting system that you believe would improve things for writers, but that would require (I imagine) some significant time investment. You can join smaller, more intimate writing circles locally, too. Usually if you're meeting "in person" people behave better, too. 


Agree to all of this. Doesn't matter what profession it is, people who lack the will indirectly lack the experience and self-confidence to become a professional in that field. To quote Mr King once again: "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."


Quote:(And naturally, I may end up eating my words someday because I suspect anything and everything I write will be unpopular everywhere, but alas. Such is the fate of internet writers everywhere.)
I've grown to learn the universe isn't big enough for anyone else's opinion of you. Your opinion of yourself is large enough, and that's all that matters. Dare to be different, because more often than not, that's what leads to great changes in this already confused world. 

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#31

bokhi Wrote: Ah, but you concede that it exists independently of human observers. Now the question is relevance (I suppose you refer to it as being consequential, though I don't personally think they are synonymous. There are implications to each choice). 

I disagree the tree is inconsequential if it does not directly affect humans. It will affect the fauna and flora of the of the forest, which will eventually impact everything in that ecosystem, including humans. To leave the analogy, the merits of writing lie not only in sharing. Sharing it does help with relevance, but writing can be a way to order your thoughts, or to vent. Some therapies have clients write, not to be published or read, but only for emotional catharsis. This can be effective and useful as well. If the individual changes as a result of their private writing, they will also likely impact their wider community in some way. 

To extend the metaphor of the feedback as tree--well, there's a lot of effects, aren't there? You can use the wood to create something--this is analogous to improving your craft. You can remain crushed. In this case, your remains may nurture others--other writers who have learned from your failure. Perhaps your fall has left space for other trees to grow--you no longer cast a shade and keep others from the sun, and there is space for new roots. 

Failure and adversity are facts of life. What you do with them is up to you. (Four paragraphs. Argh! Working on brevity...)
Yes, the tree exists independently on human observers, and your story exists independently on me reading it. 


In our tree analogy, falling three wouldn't affect the local ecosystem that much as it is something that happens naturally, and more importantly ecosystem is not a sentient entity hence it doesn't think about abstract matters like the importance of the fallen tree and whether it does or doesn't affect anything. We, humans, are sentient. And fallen tree doesn't matter to us until it affects us. It is almost like it didn't exist, even if it demonstrably does. 

(yes, there is a philosophical school that claims that things are real until we perceive them, but it is not what I am aiming towards.)

As for writing done for therapeutic purposes, it isn't published because it would create greater anxiety in the patient. Which is undesirable for therapy. I am not certain if that method even used for social anxiety

Publishing your work is actually different because (amateur) author probably wants to ease anxiety through positive feedback. 

If you didn't want a reaction, you wouldn't post your story. Just like a patient in that therapy. It would be demonstrably real for you, and it would be for what matters. 

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#32


ArthurScott Wrote: This is true, by several lengths, for any artistic craft, be it art, writing, music, singing, etc....

(quoting each other makes posting incredibly difficult)

In theory, yes, I agree, to improve your craft you need constructive criticism.
In practice, you can't rely on criticism being actually constructive, or even well-intentioned to help you improve in the first place.
You can't actually rely on the fact that your efforts to improve will be acknowledged by anyone, regardless of how hard you try, hence eventually you realize it is impossible to improve because no one acknowledges you tried.
And as for great writers ...
Even Stephen King wouldn't be accepted by an editor and any publisher at the start of his career.
He could fail with the very same writing style that made him famous if he merely run into different people. 
Ultimately, Stephen King became great because he was popular, and when he was popular he eventually ran into a situation that any of his stories would be accepted because he is THE Stephen King.


Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#33

beast_regards Wrote:
ArthurScott Wrote: This is true, by several lengths, for any artistic craft, be it art, writing, music, singing, etc....

(quoting each other makes posting incredibly difficult)

In theory, yes, I agree, to improve your craft you need constructive criticism.
In practice, you can't rely on criticism being actually constructive, or even well-intentioned to help you improve in the first place.
You can't actually rely on the fact that your efforts to improve will be acknowledged by anyone, regardless of how hard you try, hence eventually you realize it is impossible to improve because no one acknowledges you tried.
And as for great writers ...
Even Stephen King wouldn't be accepted by an editor and any publisher at the start of his career.
He could fail with the very same writing style that made him famous if he merely run into different people. 
Ultimately, Stephen King became great because he was popular, and when he was popular he eventually ran into a situation that any of his stories would be accepted because he is THE Stephen King.
" In practice, you can't rely on criticism being actually constructive, or even well-intentioned to help you improve in the first place.

You can't actually rely on the fact that your efforts to improve will be acknowledged by anyone, regardless of how hard you try, hence eventually you realize it is impossible to improve because no one acknowledges you tried."


That depends on what you consider constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is exactly that: constructive. If the criticism you're receiving isn't constructive, then it likely won't benefit you, but even the most vague of complaints can be, in some way, turned into building blocks on which to further develop your story. I'll give you an example: "The dialogue is bad. Very weak." So, here, the criticism isn't directly constructive; however, I now can look through the work and see what needs improvement, and if needed, I can contact the person who gave the criticism for specific examples. Granted, someone that is clueless about writing might not even know where to start with such a comment, and in that case, the writer will still improve with time, and perhaps with more care in the area of complaint (in this case, dialogue). So, it indirectly is, in a way, constructive, because it is more specific. However, yes, there are extremely vague criticisms that don't register with the author solely based on how vague they are, but from my experience, these are very sparse in existence. Most of what you'll find in reviews is useful feedback, although not fleshed out with in-depth detail a lot of the time, with the potential to improve an author's work. 


Quote:"A writer can look toward the strengths of a piece and, rather than trying to act upon a negative, choose something to act upon during revision."
(Source: https://catapult.co/dont-write-alone/stories/praise-workshop-writing-revision-teaching)
" You can't actually rely on the fact that your efforts to improve will be acknowledged by anyone, regardless of how hard you try, hence eventually you realize it is impossible to improve because no one acknowledges you tried."


Not actually sure what you mean by this. I don't think the acknowledgement of writers wanting to improve plays a role in them actually improving. Through practice and experience, the writer will improve.

" eventually you realize it is impossible to improve because no one acknowledges you tried."

You will improve if you want to improve and you try to improve. It's not impossible merely because no one acknowledged you tried. 

" Even Stephen King wouldn't be accepted by an editor and any publisher at the start of his career.
He could fail with the very same writing style that made him famous if he merely run into different people. 
Ultimately, Stephen King became great because he was popular, and when he was popular he eventually ran into a situation that any of his stories would be accepted because he is THE Stephen King."


I'm pretty sure that everyone's aware of this. There is a bit of luck with getting the right agent or pathway into traditional publishing and then even further into literary success. This luck dwindles depending on how good your writing is based on what's in vogue at the time. It's actually a lot more complicated than running into the right people per se. If you wanted to publish Carrie today, it would be unlikely to be accepted just based on how cliché the idea has become. 

Stephen King became great for a lot of reasons, and the main reason is that he knew how to write well and how to create interesting stories for a wide audience. This is the same with any author. As I've said, what matters is how interesting the story is, not how well you can string sentences together and shape up a mediocre story. All the good ideas are pretty much taken, but not every direction and mould. 

I mean, the statement about him being THE Stephen King would be counterintuitive. Of course he's going to get accepted for whatever he puts out there, granted its edited and of readable standard. That doesn't mean he doesn't create countless interesting stories and merely banks on his name, if I am to assume your statement is implying, which you are free to disregard, but it seems you need to clarify. King creates characters and tales that cater to wide audiences because he has the hidden magic. 

And for the record, he did fail, thirty times, to be specific. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_King
[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_King][/url]




Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#34

ArthurScott Wrote: If not for sites like Royal Road, a lot of careers may not even see the light of day. We should be grateful for such a service available through the click of a button.


This is a very good piece of insight. Gratitude is a great inoculator against depression and despair! That a place like RR exists is something our ancestors could have only dreamed of. It's a great gift, though like all things involving human interaction, there will be assholes on occasion. =) 

ArthurScott Wrote: I guess what I'm trying to say is, writing isn't measurable. There is no formula, no way you can dictate a work's greatness. You must feel in it in yourself.


I agree with you that standards do change over time, and also that the trend seems to be toward simpler. I see this everywhere too, even in academic writing--the push is for simple, clear, concise. But I disagree that it is totally unmeasurable. It really depends on what aspect of the monolithic term "writing" you are measuring. 

There are two ways to look at it: top-down or bottom-up. You can certainly track writing quality against "standardized" markers of quality (usually developed and promogulated by the intelligentsia, so top-down--of course these days, the gap between what the critics consider good and what the general population considers good seems to be widening). I think the trend these days is to simply dismiss this top-down view, but that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater: academics are good at taking a historical view and applying pattern recognition. Though we can quibble on the details of human experience, some themes, archetypes, and motifs crop up cross-culturally and all throughout history over and over again. We are a story-telling species, and some stories are eternal and indelible to the human experience. These are the stories that endure! (Of course, in the end you're right too--there's no formula for this, only identifiable elements, but that tends to fall into survivorship bias.)

You can also try to track what traits best-selling works tend to share, too (bottom-up). For example, popular works of fiction tend to have a Flesch-Kincaid reading level between grades 7 and 9, and this includes some classics. You want your prose to be accessible. That's not all there is to it, of course, and trends do change with the times, but my point is that you can measure certain elements of writing. Not objectively, but empirically against cultural markers. 

Of course, those things are only useful in some circumstances. YMMV. 

I'd say there is also a risk with feeling greatness only in oneself as well--we are social creatures, and too much self-absorption can morph into narcissism, which can be harmful to others. I'm more of a "moderation in all things" type of person! If Stephen King had not had his wife, would he have been supported sufficiently to reach greatness? I don't think so. We are not islands. "Vaulting ambition" (1) can be deadly, and not only to oneself. =) 
I'd say the most important thing about dealing with others' opinion is knowing how to separate the wheat from the chaff, and knowing whose opinions to prioritize--but that's now getting into life and relationship management rather than writing, so I'll let it lie there. 

ArthurScott Wrote: I agree with all of this. Not only would I agree to the extent that some is external, but I would argue that, to a subconscious degree, internal validation is the only validation that matters, the only measure that allows a writer to go the distance. Sure, receiving praise is nice, receiving feedback is nice, but the human mind is known to lie. What we are shown about our work and how we feel about our work are very different. 

A study found that too much praise can lower one's [student's] confidence and give feelings of "doubt". (Source: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1983-10432-001)

Yes, these are younger examples, but I can attest as a grown adult that even I doubt what I see over the web. I doubt truth to be a liar, no matter how much praise I receive, I always backtrack to how I myself feel about my own work. Sure, positive feedback can aid in delivering that feeling of satisfaction with my writing, but it does very little, particularly in the long-run, to determine if I finish a book. My own measure of how good the book is decides that. 

Quote: extrinsic motivation is generally short term. It cannot beat intrinsic motivation in the long run. Your desire must be internalized to be lasting. I'm generalizing a lot, but this is RR. I think my core message here is reasonably supported by psychological literature, though. 

Not only is this true, but is has been proven to lead to a fixed mindset. (I.E. If one cannot live up to people's expectations, they crack under the pressure. Pressure that wasn't even there to begin with.) [Sources: https://blog.innerdrive.co.uk/the-problem-with-praise + https://www.psychologytoday.com/ie/blog/smart-moves/201411/the-problem-praise].

I'd say that yes, the human mind is known to lie, but that can also apply to relying only on your own judgement of yourself: it might work for emotional stability, but it's also true that people who are not depressed generally rate themselves higher than they should (not a bad thing per se, but can lead to bad things when said overconfident person is given some real executive power) and the Dunning-Kruger effect is also likely very relevant (though some argue it is only a statistical artefact--ah, psychology). I do agree that internal validation is the most important, but for a more pragmatic reason: the outside environment, whether it be social or cultural, is always changing, especially now in the internet age. Building your esteem on that mess is like building on sand. It's better to be your best self, rather than the self Instagram or TikTok or whatever it is that kids go on these days tell you that you should aim for. Build yourself so you're someone you like, someone you'd hang out with for extended periods of time. When writing, write what you love, what gives you pleasure to read. The approval of the crowd is fickle, and you'd likely be compromising your vision, anyway! 

Thanks for expanding on motivation, as well! Regarding the development of a fixed mindset, though I'd like to clarify for other readers that the Mueller & Dweck (1998) article cited in Psychology Today isn't talking about praise in general, but the type of praise given; praise that essentializes ("You're so smart!") is more likely to lead to a fixed mindset than praise emphasizing effort ("You worked really hard!"). 

Interestingly, external reward, like pay, can actually decrease intrinsic motivation and lead to decrease in the level of pleasure obtained in the activity as well! I'm thinking of a specific work here, but the author escapes me and I can't track it down right now. Sorry! You can probably Google Scholar this though! 

When I was a student, my favorite teachers were the ones who were honest. A compliment always means more when you earn it!

ArthurScott Wrote:
Quote:(And naturally, I may end up eating my words someday because I suspect anything and everything I write will be unpopular everywhere, but alas. Such is the fate of internet writers everywhere.)
I've grown to learn the universe isn't big enough for anyone else's opinion of you. Your opinion of yourself is large enough, and that's all that matters. Dare to be different, because more often than not, that's what leads to great changes in this already confused world.

Thanks for the encouragement! My motivation is generally intrinsic though, so I aim to stay happy writing and mean to rude comments, lol! =)

(1) This one's from Macbeth, of course. The only Shakespeare play I will ever voluntarily read again, though I would prefer to never read an Elizabethan play again, ever. Well, except Marlowe. I'd make an exception for Marlowe. 

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#35

beast_regards Wrote: Yes, the tree exists independently on human observers, and your story exists independently on me reading it. 

In our tree analogy, falling three wouldn't affect the local ecosystem that much as it is something that happens naturally, and more importantly ecosystem is not a sentient entity hence it doesn't think about abstract matters like the importance of the fallen tree and whether it does or doesn't affect anything. We, humans, are sentient. And fallen tree doesn't matter to us until it affects us. It is almost like it didn't exist, even if it demonstrably does. 

(yes, there is a philosophical school that claims that things are real until we perceive them, but it is not what I am aiming towards.)

As for writing done for therapeutic purposes, it isn't published because it would create greater anxiety in the patient. Which is undesirable for therapy. I am not certain if that method even used for social anxiety

Publishing your work is actually different because (amateur) author probably wants to ease anxiety through positive feedback. 

If you didn't want a reaction, you wouldn't post your story. Just like a patient in that therapy. It would be demonstrably real for you, and it would be for what matters.

I'm not sure about the relevance of whether something is natural or not. If it has an impact, the natural or human nature of the source is not relevant. The impact will exist whether the ecosystem itself is sentient or not. As for us humans, we will be affected whether we know it or not. Nature is metal. Whether you acknowledge gravity or not is immaterial to the fact that it will fuck you up if you step off the roof, just like decomposition processes and their results do not care whether you are aware they are happening or not. 

I assume you are referring to solipsism? Or are you referring to observer theory? You can take whatever epistemological view you want, but that tree and all the microbes working on it don't care at all! =) 

Writing isn't only prescribed for anxiety. It's a tool that is used for various conditions, and the determination of best treatment is made by the clinician after assessment, and it would likely be combined with a mainline therapy. Sharing may or may not be useful for that specific patient--it's something only the therapist and the client can decide on. For anxiety specifically, the current western darling would be cognitive-behavioral therapy, though this is likely because CBT is easy to manualize and is generally "faster" than traditional therapies--it's a boon to systems that are publicly funded. One criticism is that gains for CBT diminish quickly, and that's likely if the process doesn't integrate crucial elements present in slower forms of psychotherapy, but this is RR, not a psychology forum. Regardless, there is usually no reason why writing cannot be used as a tool during regular CBT, either--a lot of clinicians these days use mixed models, though many still have some specialization in something. 

I think different amateur writers post for different reasons. Some want positive feedback, but some want honest and critical feedback. Of course, RR isn't a site that is only for writers; it's for the readers too. Readers likely want accurate reviews, so there is a conflict of interest between a writer who only wants positive feedback versus readers who want critical or accurate reviews. 

I don't think anyone argued that people posting didn't want reactions, only that you cannot control others' reactions, only your own responses. I'm not sure what you are referring to about feedback being real. Yes, it is a real thing. I don't believe anyone said it wasn't real, only that you can control how much feedback you get (or if you get any at all), but not the type of feedback you get. You can also certainly decide what's wheat and what's chaff. 

Re: Criticism leading to hiatus

#36
Well... I honestly never got negative feedback yet, but I will likely get some with my newer fiction.

I am prepared for that and I honestly care only for the negative feedback that does help me to make my story better.

If I get useless "your book is shit" comments, I will ignore them. 

I don't see how comments could make me stop posting my stories - if I get more views I continue, if I don't get views I stop. That's it.

The comment's can help or be useless. Your success is measured by the views and followers. If you agonize enough people to view and comment on your story you will get famous too^^