A Writer’s Most Powerful Weapon

“A writer’s most powerful weapon, his true strength, was his intuition, and regardless of whether he had any talent, if the critics combined to discredit an author’s nose for things, he would be reduced to a fearful creature who took a mistakenly guarded, absurdly cautious approach to his work, which would end up stifling his latent genius.” ―Félix J. Palma

We Often Think Of Oppression In Terms Of Tyrants

“We often think of oppression in terms of tyrants, but it most often comes from the institutions, philosophies, and people closest to us. Most oppression is near and dear. Next time your spouse or partner abusively criticizes you, or says you are worthless, not good enough, stupid, or inadequate — tell them that if it is true, to consider that those alleged deficiencies could be what prevented you from getting a better mate. They say they can’t stand your behavior, but really, they can’t stand themselves. People like this often criticize you from the position of being the “wiser” or “stronger” person, who they claim are only trying to “help” you. If they really were strong, they wouldn’t yell, they would reassure. If they were really strong they wouldn’t put you down, they would lift you up. Maybe you’re the one who is really strong. Maybe they just want to hold you back. Maybe it’s time to stand-up for yourself!” -Bryant McGill

This is such an interesting perspective, but I also find it to be completely accurate.

Don’t Ever Criticize Yourself

“Don’t ever criticize yourself. Don’t go around all day long thinking, ‘I’m unattractive, I’m slow, I’m not as smart as my brother.’ God wasn’t having a bad day when he made you… If you don’t love yourself in the right way, you can’t love your neighbor. You can’t be as good as you are supposed to be.” —Joel Osteen

Apparently Joel has not met my neighbors. 😛

There’s A Difference

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Of late, I’ve noticed people feel incredibly safe behind their computer-based bubbles, but I often wonder how real people are being. Sometimes, stories don’t add up (You can’t bullshit me, I have common sense.), and other times, it takes about two seconds for someone to get offended by the simplest thing. What is that you may ask? Honesty.

Here are the facts: Not everyone is the world’s greatest writer, try though they might. Not everyone is talented, funny, or smart. However, there is seemingly a niche for everyone. To each their own. Everyone is entitled to be themselves, but please, be authentic.

When I say something, it’s not for shits and giggles, unless I’ve managed to make you laugh (I don’t go out of my way to be funny, but I know when I’m being a goofball. In print, not everyone’s sense of humor translates because you can’t hear the tone they’re saying something in). I come from a place of genuineness, and I think that resonates in my work and my words.

I’m not here as a “blogger”. I am here as an experienced writer and editor who, as of next year, will no longer be editing other people’s work. I am moving on to another creative endeavor, something I should have done ten years ago. I will continue to write, as I have an unfinished series of novels to complete for publishing, but I am tired of the bullshit, the drama, and the never-ending attempt to outdo one another, because no one wants to see you do better than them, no matter what they might say. Instead of people being happy for one another, people will go behind a person’s back and tear them apart, as if we’re all trapped in high school. That is not, and has never been, acceptable to me.

One aspect of my brusque honesty is that people often mistake it for me being “mean” or “having a bad day”. For starters, I tend to reserve meanness for people who deserve it and two, I keep my bad days/moods to myself because that’s rude in my eyes, so understand that if I say something, it is meant to be helpful, not cruel. Why would I take my valuable time to comment and be mean to someone I don’t know personally? That makes no sense. While I realize there are people who would jump on that and do precisely that to as many people as possible, because starting fights with strangers is what keeps their days and nights “interesting”, I have absolutely no need to be less than who I am. If you lack the communication skills to deal with my honesty, I have to wonder how you will handle the inevitable criticism you are bound to receive on your work up the road.

Every writer has been criticized. I am not immune to that, but I have risen above it. I have been told a handful of insulting things over the course of 28 years as a writer, but you know what resonated most with me? All the genuine, positive feedback from absolute strangers who had no vested interest whatsoever in my success. If a person said “Take that out.” or “That’s not funny.” or “What did you mean by that?”, then I answered them. A huge part of writing is being able to properly communicate with your readers. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t just flip people the bird and tell them to have a nice day. If you ask me a question, I will give you an answer. You may or may not like it, but at least it will be genuine. Also, if I have something personal to say to you, I will say it directly to you, I will not embarrass you on a public platform (if you’re the shy type), nor will I be mean for the sake of being mean. That’s not how I roll.

I am not everyone’s cup of tea, nor is everyone my cup of tea. We don’t have to be. I’d rather have mutual respect as opposed to catty bitchiness behind my back, but the fact of the matter is, I cannot control other people’s reactions or behavior. I, however, can control mine.

If you have something to say to me, by all means, say it to me. There’s no need to be fake about it or passive-aggressive (two things I loathe with every breath I take). Try being real.

There is real criticism in this world. It is vindictive, hateful, and mean-spirited; it is meant to dissuade you from your goal(s). And then there is constructive criticism that is meant to help you and make you better. If you don’t know the difference between the two, precisely who is responsible for that? You are. One should roll off of you, you should know in your heart who you are. The other is to be positively absorbed in order to help you grow. If you decide to turn that into something more than what it is, so be it, but it just goes to show the intelligent speaker that you’re immature and not prepared for what’s to come.

And this is one of the reasons I do not want to edit for fledglings any more. If you cannot handle my honesty, which is meant to help and guide, then what the hell do you think you’re going to do when bad reviews pop up on every book web-site from here to eternity? Amazon, Goodreads, and a plethora of other sites will not delete bad reviews. As a reader, I’ve seen a million of them and many times, they have saved me money. Other times, there was one bad review, but 500 reviews explaining why you should read/buy the book in question. Bad reviews are going to happen, but they will not make or break you. Just like constructive criticism will not break you, but it WILL make you better. Take that to mean whatever you like. I speak from experience.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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But for the sake of all that is Holy, know where to put commas and periods in your work. Every time you don’t, an editor bleeds to death. Do you really want that on your conscience?

Are You Working Hard, Or Hardly Working?

Do you ever find yourself utterly dizzy reading what you’ve written, or even the work of a fellow writer? If so, welcome to the club!

I have been editing for a client for three days now. At the rate I’m going, I will be done next week. All I will say about it is that the story is very good and I’d buy it. It’s nice to work on something I’d never write, but that I’m highly knowledgeable about. (Special thanks to the New York City Public Education system for always telling me, year after year, that I should be a police detective. Higher honors and thanks to the NYPD for all my forensics knowledge.) I never know how my brain works, until someone presents me with a question or ideas and suddenly, out of nowhere, the answers come flying out of my mouth. It’s a little scary. The fact that I know some of this stuff is probably the reason I DVR’d “How To Get Away With Murder” last night. Did anyone else see it?

Here’s something that bothers me: You take all kinds of shit as a writer. Criticism and stupid comments are the least of my concerns. Over time, you realize that a lot of the catty comments that get sent in your direction are actually jealousy manifesting itself. You start seeing people distance themselves from you, and it all comes down to one thing: No one likes knowing that someone else is better than they are at something. I have no idea why people cannot be supportive, why they can’t just be happy for you, or why they have to be so competitive. There is room in this world, both physically and literally, for all of us. IKEA, Target, and Walmart can always make more bookshelves, so please don’t compete with every writer you know, just “do you”. That means, write what you know and write it well, and then take it out into the universe and sell that motherfucker for all it is worth.

In turn, you’ll be able to answer the age old question: Are you working hard, or hardly working?

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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