Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sharp Sticks

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth."  
~Dan Rather


As much as this is true for teacher/student relationships, it is equally true for critique partners and beta readers and agents and editors and anyone who provides some form of valuable feedback or instruction regarding a writer's work. 

Next time you feel pushed or tugged or poked after a critique, look for the "truth" behind it.  That's how we inch ever closer to the dream.

What is your most recent experience with a "stick of truth"? 

 

31 comments:

Bish Denham said...

Oh gosh, Angela over at the Bookshelf Muse gave me many sharp pokes during my mentoship time with her. She really helped me see things I couldn't see.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I ADORE Angela!!! :-)

Laurel Garver said...

I've had some CPs poke a stick at some spots where I didn't let the reader in on the character's decision making process--like skipping steps in a geometry proof. :-)

Carolyn V said...

Stick of truth whacked me in the butt when I had to revise my first chapter...again. =)

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

I'm usually the one hitting people with that stick :)

Patti said...

Sometimes being poked with a stick hurts, but in the end it gets you to where you want to be.

Shari said...

I wondered what that bruise was on my back side.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Such a great statement, Shannon! My most recent truth moment actually came from my four year old daughter. She opened my eyes to something I hadn't even realized about myself. Just a simple comment, and I became aware of something truly profound. It's way huge to post here, but maybe I'll blog about it someday. Anyway, I guess it really just shows that you can experience a stick of truth pretty much anywhere.

Catherine Denton said...

I'm painfully familiar with that stick. The initial poke hurts but it always improves my writing.
My Blog

Karen Lange said...

Amen Amigo! :)

Heather said...

I love that, so true!

Mary Aalgaard said...

The truth lies somewhere between the stick poke and the gentle rub. May your work be poked and polished until it shines!

Michael Offutt said...

Maybe a poke with a dull stick is more in order. It hurts less.

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Best Books Blog Award.

Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
~Deirdra

Old Kitty said...

Oooh I hide from the stick of truth!! LOL!!! But seriously!! the last time I got prodded was when I asked lovely bloggie friends for volunteers to read the first page of my wip. I really found the prodding and poking absolutely wonderful to work from!! So yay for the stick of truth!! Take care
x

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

It's amazing the power a teacher has :) Great quote :)

Lee Libro said...

Thank you for reminding me that being prodded isn't always a bad thing.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I definitely poke my students with that stick- we're putting Truman on trial for dropping the bombs on Japan in one set of classes and just finished talking about the My Lai Massacre in another.

In my writing I've had some great betas poke me with a truth stick. I needed it!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I'm always getting poked on Face book but fortunately not with a stick as I bruise easily.

Yvonne.

Sara McClung ♥ said...

I am a HUGE fan of the stick of truth :) I use one with a velvety cloth over it's sharpest edge, because I find it really hard to poke someone TOO hard, but the impact remains the same.

And I absolutely depend on my CPs/betas to poke me with the truth about my own writing :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sometimes I have to step back from the pokes and then I realize that they were right. I'm trying to get rid of being stubborn about it.

Kelly H-Y said...

That is so true! It's taken me some getting used to, but I'm getting better and better at 'handling the truth'! :-)

Corey Schwartz said...

Very well-said, Shannon!

Jemi Fraser said...

LOVE that quote! :)

My latest shart stick had 'coincidence' etched in it - still working on fixing that one!

L'Aussie said...

These are wise words. I'm so glad I stopped by today.

Denise<3

Meredith said...

I've learned to develop a pretty thick skin when it comes to critiques--it's easier when you know that your CP is really just trying to help you make your writing better!

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss shannon! yikes! just last week my teacher gave me a big poke cause of how i needed to do way better on a essay i wrote. ack! but i got it rewrote and its way better. my cp miss sharon got after me with that big stick lots and now cause of that im doing a revise on one of my stories. but i got a big problem cause mostly im ticklish when i get poked. hahahahaha.
...smiles and hugs from lenny

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

This is very true. The last time I got poked with a sharp stick was when one of my critique partners pushed me to revamp chapter one. I'm grateful, but boy I wish I'd seen it for myself. The sharp stick is painful, but I don't know what I'd do without it.

Kelly said...

So true. Truth can hurt, but we need it to better ourselves and our work.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon .. me I suspect .. I need to go through my posts and correct - eliminate the errors ..

Not sure I like the hot stick embers that I'm thrusting in my own direction .. but before I can do anything they need to be 'sorted' ..

Love Lenny's comment - great kid .. ticklish tickling sticks .. that's the way to go ..

Cheers Hilary

Valerie Geary said...

Poke poke. I missed you. Glad to have you back!

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