On Friends and Family

I think that most people take it for granted that they’ll be sharing their work with their friends and/or family. With that in mind, I think I should qualify the ‘About Me’ page and the general anonymosity I’ve adopted here: while you can find my personal Twitter, I have a separate one set up for this site. I’m also using a pseudonym: Googling my real name won’t bring this up. (While part of my full name, “Chand” isn’t my real last name…though I wish it were; I have an atrocious name. But enough about me!)

Anyway, sharing your work with the people who know and tolerate you is great. But it can lead to problems, the big one being hubris.

Friends lie. Family’s more prone to honesty, but still….

In short, giving your work to the people who are most likely to offer you positive comments is going to hurt you the most. It’s not so easy to cut out those passages that are holding your story back–that might even be subconsciously nagging you–if you have the sentiment of ‘Great job! Everything was fabulous!’ floating around in your head. (Incidentally, I used to volunteer at a children’s museum, and one of the big things was not to compliment kids with a phrase like ‘good job.’ We were told that, while it’s positively reinforcing, the kid doesn’t know exactly what is being positively reinforced: piling up a bunch of bricks? Making a recognizable structure out of said bricks? Either way, they’d just be happy with where they were…when the idea was to grow.)

With the Internet as it is, I think it’s actually better to start off by showing your work to honest strangers and, once you’ve taken the brunt of their anger and revised, then proceed to get that ego boost from your fave five. Show them something polished that they can compliment without hypocrisy (or, you know, straight-up lying).

 

More on editing…next time.

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