You Are What You Write? : LUSENET : chatterbox: the amplified to rock forum : One Thread

I've had a couple of exchanges with people recently that have made me wonder how sensitive writers/webloggers/webzine editors are about their writing. Some people view their writing as an extension of themselves, therefore any criticism of the writing is a criticism of the person. I didn't have a hard time understanding this when it came to online journals, because the subject matter was highly personal, but I have a hard time understanding this when it comes to people writing about music or art or movies or something else that isn't really personal.

So this is mostly for other writers out there, or really anyone who makes their work public: are you sensitive to criticism? Does it bother you when people criticize your writing or artwork? Do you see criticism of your writing or artwork as criticism of you as a person?

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2000


Since I suspect I'm one of the people who inspired this thread, I'll answer. I've had to ignore a lot of criticism of my personal writing for what I'll call "political" reasons. I think I'm less sensitive to criticism because of all the emotional scar tissue I've built up, but a few things still get through.

The only time I'm really set off by criticism is if I feel that it's invoking "facts" that aren't true. A personal opinion is one thing, but when a critical statement seems to be based upon something that isn't true, I'll get a bit annoyed. Why this should matter more than opinion-related issues I don't know. I didn't say I wasn't neurotic.

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2000

Hmm. I don't like personal writing much, and I don't think I'm very good at it, and so I don't do it. I write about pop music instead. But a lot of the times I'm writing about pop music I'm secretly writing about other stuff too, because the music is making me think of the other stuff. Now, there is no reason why anyone reading what I write should pick up on that, but that's possibly why I'm sensitive about certain pieces.

I also think there's a difference between saying - oh, you're wrong, you're full of shit - and questioning people's motives for doing stuff. I've no problem with people telling me I have wretched tastes, I have a problem with people saying I don't really *have* those tastes.

-- Anonymous, July 30, 2000

I think my greatest critic as a writer is *me*. I happen to own a pleasingly amusing domain (, where I would like to do regular postings, but I can't ever seem to give the proper credit to my ideas. They always seem so uninspiring and trite after they're written that I ditch them. Hence, no website.

I also write for an internet shopping site, which is actually relatively fun. As the sole copywriter, I write a fair amount of creative as well as the static content for the site, and bi-weekly newsletters, which thankfully doesn't all have to be about shopping. What is a weird ko-inky-dink is that I mentally and editorially shred every page and newsletter I publish myself, and usually end up doing a revised version for the copies I stick in my portfolio, but yet I will fiercely defend every syllable if someone ELSE criticizes it.

For instance, a certain co-worker of mine with a Masters in Rhetoric (The art or study of using language effectively!) has questioned my use of language several times which REALLY bites my ass in a big way. ("Is 'foist' really a word? Are you SURE?") It really makes me question the validity of possessing a degree!

I also get (one average) one piece of hate mail for every 100K newsletters that go out, which only bothers me because, as a *professional* I am not allowed to flame anyone back. Dammit. Most of it comes from anyway. But the good news is that I get fan mail (for anonymous writing, no less), and I can get a 15% click-through rate from 3 lines of text below the fold of an e-mail newsletter. Does that convince me that Im good? Somedays. I might not think much of it myself, but Im sure going to ask for a raise!

-- Anonymous, August 02, 2000

I like to better myself. I like to have people tell me what they think is wrong, fucked up, stupid, etc about what I write/do/etc, but it seems as though if I question these people about what exactly I'm doing wrong, how I can improve myself, they backtrack and basically say that there is nothing wrong with what I have done or tell me I should stop eating meat. I guess they're either too lazy to follow through and help me out or I'm too intimindating(heh). Then, there is that little bit of me that comprises 95% of me that doesn't give a fuck about what other people think.

-- Anonymous, November 21, 2000

i am.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2000

Anybody who doesn't feel they've handed their guts over to the reader isn't really a writer. And I don't mean that in a pretentious, precious-artist way, just as a matter of fact. I suspect that those who say "I don't give a fuck what anybody thinks" are merely mustering a necessary measure of bravado.

I mean, who are you writing for, anyway? Presumably, an audience. To say you don't care how the reader regards your writing is like saying you don't care how a lover regards your lovemaking.

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2001

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