No Voice to Speak of
My kids get frustrated with me, a lot. Understandably. I get frustrated with them, a lot. By the fifth time I’ve asked, “Will you please go get dressed”, or “Will you please pick up your ponies”, I’m ready to uncage that beast we all like to claim lays dormant—the screamer. But today the tables are turned.
Laryngitis. Miserable, silent, agitating laryngitis.
Ironically, I’m hearing significantly more—like my 2 year old asking for a cup of water three times before anyone responds, or my 8 year old desperately pleading with his sister to stop pinching him, or the silly little things my daughter is pretending be. I’m reminded that communication is a two-way process. The more we hear, (or better yet,) the more we listen, the more effective we are in our families, in our writing, and in the world.
On that note, sometimes it’s painful to listen to what people have to say about our guarded and carefully worded treasures. No fury equals the internal typhoon when my husband shrugs casually to the question, “Did you like it—you know, that manuscript I just spent fifteen hours pouring over?”
Let’s be realistic. No one is going to love your writing as much as you do. What’s more, a response like that opens the door to a conversation of growth and insight, if we can abate the vindictive demon long enough to hear what is actually be said. As in every adversity, “all these things give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7)
How then to we draw out the positive in a negative response? What works for me is asking:
What didn’t you like about it, why?
Is it the genre?
Is it the characters?
Is it the plot?
Is it (heaven forbid!!!) the voice?
As we listen, openly and willingly, then apply the responses—where valid, our greatest power is unleashed: the power of growth.
How do you respond to criticism?
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