Blog 0016 – Embodying Humility as a Writer

Updates: Fantasy novel rewrite hit 30k; restructuring sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter. At the same time, writing the next 30k rough text for october rewrite. Planning to hit 60k by NaNoWriMo’14 for a starting platform with the next 50+k. In other news, found this cool mythos index site called Godchecker. The Novice Wordsmith also shared an excellent site known as Neila Ray’s Visual Workouts. My favorites are the Xena, Dexter, Adventure Time, and Batgirl routines.

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I’m not very good when it comes to humility, but every day I’m getting better.

I wasn’t raised to be humble. It wasn’t a virtue taught to me while growing up, instead self-deprecation was my definition of humility. This made it tough to handle critiques and feedback during my young academic life. Parts of me would shut down, unable to internalize what others were saying, like a survival mechanism.

For the humble, frustrations are gratefully received as opportunities to grow, improve, and continue to develop Who You Are. Practicing patience/compassion while being aware of triggered manifestations of arrogance or aggression embodies humility in daily action and attitude.

In a meta-sense, I was aware of this, but still struggled to emotionally apply it. While doing survey groupwork in social research, I had to be receptive to understanding why others shared their thoughts the way they did in an extremely direct fashion and thus, had to reevaluate my own relationship with applying critiques and utilizing feedback. In creative communities as well, critique tends to be a constant and expected way of life. Shutting down wasn’t an option, but neither was being self-deprecating or egotistical.

When I decided to creatively pursue writing as my artistic medium, I knew I’d have to confront my embodiment of humility to be worth my salt.

Salar_uyuni_200701

(my) salt

Occasionally, humility, an unassuming or moderate estimate of one’s own significance and abilities, is discussed among writers.

Often, the discussion appears in relation to critiques, detailed analysis and assessment of a literary/philosophical/etc. theory or structure, and feedback, information about reactions to a product used as a basis for improvement.

A pure artist values their craft more than themselves or their audience. In order to nurture craft, a writer must value all opinions of readers and other writers on an equal level, but within the context of their craft. For instance; When it comes to critique, a genre-specific science fiction writer should not hold the opinion of a tabloid magazine editor higher than that of a similar sci-fi author, but they should consider them equal when it comes to feedback (see aforementioned definitions).

There is never 100% agreement about the aesthetic likeablity of an author’s works. Some will love it, some will hate it. As a writer, rejection is inevitable. Even after being accepted into mainstream by publication (self or not), rejection comes in the form of bad reviews and opposing opinions.

The entire process of becoming a writer/author is filled with daily intimate rejections; at the very least, between the writer and the manuscript when picking and choosing which elements to include and which words to remove.

“What advice would you give to an aspiring author?”

“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art”.

Rushing my artistic development in an attempt to grasp a future ambition has been a common pattern in my short life. I’m only a quarter of a century old though. So, I aim to mellow out, relax and exist as who I am in peace. I’ll be writing til I’m dead, that I know.

I want to visit Europe soon, but before I go, I’d love to finish my fantasy novel and maybe get it out there for others to read, however I go about it. But I’m not going to rush it. If it takes a year, great. If it takes three years, great. If it takes five years, great. Whatever is right for me will be.

In this momentary lapse where I have this luxury of peace and solitude, I am grateful for the opportunity to revisit my perceptions and thoughts, the direction of my creative energy. Coming to an acceptance of myself and my surroundings supports the development of my craft and so I seek to further my understanding of other opinions, thoughts, perceptions. As a writer, I aim to be inclusive, but also discerning. Embodying humility supports this.

Here are some links about Humility, mostly in regards to writing; The Difference between Humility and Insecurity – and which will lead to successFeedback, Humility, and the Sword of Truth, The Hidden Power of Humility, On C.S. Lewis, Humility, and Marketing, Humility is Needed as a Writer, Humility is Sexy (disclaimer is great), A little humility is good for the (writer’s) soul, Humility in Writing, Humility, the writer’s indispensable virtue, Steven Pressfield’s Humility, The Art of Polemic’s Humility in Writing, Write to Done’s Expertise vs. Humility.

Peace.

Dominika (Sep. 16)

TL;DR; There is always something to learn from a critique and feedback; even if it is discernment and bolstering of self-confidence. Make the most of whatever comes your way. Be a MacGyver Writer.

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One thought on “Blog 0016 – Embodying Humility as a Writer

  1. Thanks for the links! I read several of them when you posted it :D You always find such great posts.

    I think pretty much every writer struggles to accept concrit. Though I think it gets easier over time, so the authors that seem not to mind it much have generally been writing for a while. My ego was super-fragile when I first started. It still is in some way. Without going into the fandom drama, I got that flame, and he/she told me what a horrible writer I was. It was upsetting. I do agree that my story sucked, but at my very core I don’t believe I’m a horrible writer. It was like he fed my self-critical demons, and I felt like giving up because I sucked as a writer.

    Now that I’m removed from the situation, I can see the flame for what it was, an attempt to hurt my as much as possible. I know if you are a published author you can’t react at all to any bad reviews or you’ll get blacklisted from the literary world. I’ve read several stories about that. . . So it was good preparation for the future. It only hurt because of my own self-doubt, and that’s what I really need to work on.

    I’ve actually been to visit Switzerland before. I loaded up on Lindt chocolate before coming home XD I have some friends in Europe I would like to visit someday, but they might be able to see me before I can see them, lol. I had a friend visit from England this year, and a friend of mine in Australia might be coming too ^^ It’s hard with my injuries to take long plane rides. I went to Switzerland before my lower back deteriorated. Same thing with Japan. I haven’t been for a long time. My hips are so much better, but the lower back problems make it difficult, and his family doesn’t know I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I’m kind of ambivalent about the issue.

    I agree with you about the writing process. Everyone goes at a different pace, and that’s okay. I’m a slow writer in general, so I have to remind myself of this :$ I think my max word count in an hour is 500 words. Generally in an hour I can do 200 words, sometimes only 100 XD

    My husband is rather humble. He’s a Japanese citizen, so humility is interwoven through their culture. As an example, if someone gives me a compliment, I’ll tell him, and he says, “You shouldn’t say that to other people because they will think you are arrogant and stuck-up.” I don’t XD I just tell him and my closest friends :$

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