Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bang Head Joyfully

Think of and look at your work as though it were done by your enemy. If you look at it to admire it you are lost...If we look at it to see where it is wrong, we shall see this and make it righter. If we look at it to see where it is right, we shall see this and shall not make it righter. We cannot see it both wrong and right at the same time.
~ Samuel Butler
In yesterday's post I addressed the writing insecurities we all feel at one time or another. Clearly, we all have them. Some of us are better at dealing with those feelings than others, but we've all experienced them.

Are we being unfair to ourselves when we worry a lot about mistakes or foggy sections? No. We're 100% in the right! Marianne Moore said, "A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself." I don't know about you, but each time I read that, I find myself going whew! inside. It gives me permission to worry. It somehow blesses the repetitive cycle of revising and revising and revising.




Today, I give you free reign to be a little hard on yourself. In fact, I wish you joy as you bang your head against the wall. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

36 comments:

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Ouch!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Eww. Self-criticism is good? Maybe. You're right. Look for ways to make it righter. Fun post.

Tere Kirkland said...

Does it have to be a FIRM surface, lol?

Thanks for the quote, very timely for me. Have a great day!

Jen Chandler said...

lol! I love it.

It is good to know that I can be hard on my writing and it's okay. I don't feel so weird anymore. Well...at least not in THAT area!

Happy Thursday,
Jen

Jonathon Arntson said...

I agree with Tere, I printed the picture out and attached it to a pillow. Slapping my cheeks is more effective for me anyway.

laurel said...

Somehow we need to turn our criticalness away from our selves (as in self-flagellation for the fact I made a mistake) and onto the work, attacking instead the words on the page that aren't working.

Bane of Anubis said...

I guess the head's better than the laptop ;)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Frankie - LOL!

Mary - Righter is better. :)

Tere - You're welcome!

Jen - I'm glad you liked it.

Jonathon - LOL! Very funny. :)

Laurel - You are right, of course, but I think too often we do focus it all on ourselves. We need to give ourselves permission to be critical of our work so that we can move beyond that and focus on the words.

Terresa said...

Love this! I might just try & print it up and pass it around to several friends. Dark chocolate dosing works well, too.

Jen said...

hmmm... what a thought!!! I am a bit relieved to know that I am hard on myself and it is okay...sometimes I wish I wasn't so much, but hey that's part of being a writer I suppose!!

I'm with Terresa I might have to print this out!!!

Tracy said...

Hmm, I've had kind of a tough week, so I'm going to use my gift certificate to the spa instead. The rest of you can bang your heads all you want! :)

Valerie Geary said...

Don't bang your head too hard! You'll start forgetting things... important things... like ideas for your next story! :D

Elana Johnson said...

Ooh, you're evil. I have critique group tonight, and your permission to be hard on myself is going to, well, I don't know what, but it's gonna be bad.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I wanted to bang my head on the wall last night, trying to deal with a difficult character. I slept on it and now I think I have a solution. That's good for my head, but also good for my wall. I just painted it- I don't want to have to do another coat!

Hilary Wagner ~ Writer said...

Shannon,

I'm banging my head for sure. I just finished Part I of NS City's sequel and now I'm blocked and over tired and have yet to start Part II, which I REALLY need to do. If I take a break from writing or editing for even a few days I feel lost, but I can't get going! It's like I'm missing something and I don't know what! Why is that? Ugghh...whining over!

I have one Redbull left and several cans of Pepsi Max! Part II here I come!

Awesome post!!

xoxo -- Hilary

Carolyn V. said...

I worry way too much. My critique group just told me. Now I'm worried about them thinking I worry. I seriously need a stress reduction kit. hee hee. =)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Terresa - Oooo, dark chocolate. Love it!

Jen - Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Tracy - I'd rather join you at the spa. :)

Valerie - LOL! Good point.

Elana - I'm just a little bad. I leave the "evil" stuff to Shannon M. Ha ha. :-)

Stephanie - So practical! He he.

Hilary - Think of it as fun and spoil yourself rotten when you're done!

Carolyn - I'm a worrier and a people pleaser too. Feel free to borrow my kit. :)

Elle Strauss said...

I'm working on a tough re-write and I just want to procrastinate all day. gah. This is me banging me head.

Bethany Wiggins said...

This post hit home. I am definitely my worst critic. I'm just glad to hear it is normal!

Your blog is so lovely, Shannon. I feel like I am visiting a friend whenever I pop on over here.

Kelly said...

Thanks, I needed that! ;)

Christine Danek said...

Thank you so much for this. I will make sure my head does not go through the wall:)
Thanks for making me feel normal.

Bethany Mattingly said...

I officially now love that quote :)

Sliding on the Edge said...

Bam! Bam! Bam! Ohhh, thanks for that. I feel 100% better. Now back to writing some more foggy stuff.

Jennie Englund said...

HILARIOUS comments!!!

The Joy of Head Banging! LOVE it!

Kimberly Conway said...

True. Being hard on ourselves and our work brings growth . . . but being too hard stifles it---oh to find the perfect balance!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the sign - it hangs in the staff room at our school :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Elle - Procrastination is so difficult to conquer.

Bethany - Thanks so much Bethany. You just made my heart dance. :)

Kelly - You're welcome!

Christine - Normal is always good. Take care of that wall.

Bethany - Isn't it awesome?

Sliding - LOL! Funny. :)

Jennie - :-)

Kimberly - So true!

Jemi - I want one for my classroom too.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Thank you, Shannon!!! Okay, so I'm a BIG worry-wart, but so often, I feel like I'm wrong to feel worried. Especially regarding my own writing. But, you know, I think it's part of being a writer--I think sometimes we need to be worried about it (okay, maybe not as obsessively worried and insecure as I am, but still...thank you.) I shall now make use of your Bang Head Here sign.

Courtney Reese said...

Great post. I spend WAY too much time worring. I will use the Bang Head Here Kit.
"Oww Charley, that hurts" (have you seen the video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM

Kimberly Franklin said...

Haha! Great picture. I think I might need one of these for my house. : )

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh man, I'm going to end up with a huge lump on my forehead, aren't I?

Sharon Mayhew said...

Okay, so now I have a bump on my head...

You're so right. I look at my critique groups work and think how is it they even let me be in their group. I'm so glad I blog. The couple times I've posted exerpts of my work, I've had such good feedback it really boosted my esteem.

That and having loyal readers (like you) helps too. It makes you feel like your words have value. Thanks, Shannon. :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Shannon, I loved this line: "It somehow blesses the repetitive cycle of revising and revising and revising." Your choice of "bless" is particularly poignant there, of all places. :) And look how your blog continues to grow. Wowza! I hope you will still visit me even when you are rich and famous. :) Be blessed!

ali said...

I LOVE that quote! Thanks Shannon!

Kristi said...

Wow! I totally needed this post today! My worrying efforst are validated! HA!

I have revised my critique group excerpt over and over and over until the point of exhaustion. I don't even know if I like it anymore. My hubby helpfully pointed out last night that "isn't that what your critique group is for?". Yes it is...but I'm a dreaded perfectionist and want them to love it before ripping it apart. I need help!

Thanks for this post!

Diana Paz said...

Too funny!!

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