Thursday, October 7, 2010

Writing Enablers: Who is Enabling You?

These chubby birds are obviously junk food enablers, always turning a blind eye to the problem.

Enablers are usually a bad thing. 

A junk food enabler stands by or maybe even joins you in your weekend binge, with nary a word about how maybe you both ought to eat more healthily. 

My CP, Lindsay (a.k.a. Isabella), is my book-buying enabler (which is a favor I gladly return), and my amazon account thanks her, though my wallet does not. :)

There are friends who turn a blind eye to your Sims3 addiction, or your OCD need to run back to that last sidewalk crack so you can "make it even" by stepping on the crack with both feet. There are friends who enable you to badmouth your spouse or to continue buying stuffed animals from garage sales even though you have quite enough garage sale bunnies at home. 

And then there's my favorite kind of enabler: the writing enabler.  
The writing enabler knows all about your writing habit. He or she just chooses not to intervene. Or they do you one worse-- encourage the writing habit. These people are worse than drug dealers! They hook you with the first seemingly innocuous writing compliment and then....

Okay, they're not as bad as drug dealers. Actually they are awesome! Without writing enablers, we wouldn't have published books to read, because writers worth their salt all have inferiority complexes and require a little enabling in order to move past the first rejection. 


There is a bad kind of writing enabler who maybe is as bad as a drug dealer (okay, nobody is as bad as a drug dealer). The bad kind doesn't do you any favors, though. This is the person who gives you flowers-and-sunshine feedback without any criticism. 

They enable your pervasive passive voice. They enable your tendency to start every sentence of your YA fantasy with, "And even though I knew..." They enable your unrealistic dialogue and lack of interiority. And they tie it all up in a neat little bow with a tag that reads: 


Beware the bad writing enabler. The writing community is full of amazing, incredible, fantabulous people (links to critique group page) who can give you brutal critiques without being brutally mean. Find the writing enablers who encourage you to keep going while encouraging you to try harder. It's okay to be friends with the bad writing enabler, too. Just be careful when you're critiquing their work. ;)  

And now, back to writing. Go ahead. Write. You know you want to. I won't even tell anyone. *whispers* It will be our little secret. 

p.s. Kelly is talking about useful humility over at Operation Awesome, which ties in nicely with this talk about the necessity of critique partners. :)

p.p.s. Don't forget to polish your Twilight fan fiction for the awesome All White For Twilight contest.

1 comment:

  1. I loved writing essays in college, ok, I know that's not normal, but writing books is just beyond me. I do love reading though, which is why I hang out here. I guess that's my drug of choice, and I have a husband that feeds it by reading me the things he's interested in too.


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