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Struggling To Be A “Cheerleader”

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  • #389378
    SSS
    Participant

    Over the course of many years I’ve honed the craft of creative writing. I worked hard, had my works critiqued, took the lumps and bumps, and came out on the other end a better writer. Finally reaching a point where I felt comfortable submitting manuscripts again (I stopped a long time ago knowing that I needed to improve–a lot), a family emergency arose that took my time, energy, and focus. While I’m okay, it’s taken a toll on me and I can’t get back in the groove. Sometimes your direction changes, especially after life-altering events, and perhaps this is what has happened to me. It’s hard to accept, even if that’s what it is.

    But that’s not the specific issue that brings me here.

    An old, dear friend gave money to a “publishing house” to get published on a topic of great importance to her. I cringed when she told me how she was getting published (i.e., the non-traditional route, money flowing away from the author instead of to the author, etc.) I also worried that it would be…not good. She’d never written before, hadn’t studied writing, and was paying someone who was going to publish her regardless of the quality of writing.

    I need to be her cheerleader. I want to be her cheerleader. I read her book. It’s…not good. That said, I think her message has come through. Of course she is expecting my feedback, and that’s my dilemma.

    I think I will tell her that her message came through, then add a couple details I found endearing, hoping she doesn’t see through it OR push for more feedback.

    How would you be her cheerleader?

    Many thanks….

     

    #389418
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SSS:

    If she plans to spend more money than she already spent trying to publish this or another book in this way (and if she doesn’t have a lot of money to waste), then better kindly and honestly tell her the truth as you know it about the business side of her endeavor, and the lacking quality of her writing.

    If she is done spending money in this way, I would do just what you plan to do (“tell her that her message came through, then add a couple details I found endearing“). If she pushes you for more feedback, ask her what specifically she wants you to evaluate in regard to her writing (ex.: smooth transition from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, so readers glide effortlessly from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph), and then give her your honest feedback in regard to the specific area she mentioned. If she is not familiar with writing skills and cannot answer your request for specifics, explain to her a few specifics that you are familiar with, and take it from there.

    anita

    #389420
    SSS
    Participant

    Thank you, Anita. Very nice options.

    Over time, I’ve read a lot of your replies and I must say how impressed I am with not only the time you spend responding to people–consistently–but also how thoughtful and thorough you are. It comes through how much you care. TB is fortunate to have you contributing.

    Thanks, again, for your thoughts.

    #389422
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SSS:

    You are welcome and thank you. I appreciate the kindness behind you taking the time to make my day a better day!

    anita

    #389444
    likecrystal
    Participant

    Just read both your ideas and what comes to  mind, which you may have done anyway, would be to acknowledge to her the amount of work she had put in to the writing.   It need not be wasted, perhaps if she were to file it and take it out and review it some months down the line it may give her some useful insight or idea(s) or help her to be more objective.   Perhaps also, to give her ideas for what to do next, gently suggesting the usefulness of exercises, or purchasing a book of exercises that might help.  Or suggested reading to expand her knowledge and awareness of other writers.

    #389499
    SSS
    Participant

    Likecrystal: I already had talked to her by your post. It went well. I liked your suggestion about mentioning the amount of work she put in. Will tuck that away for the future, if need be.

    And…when she first told me that she was writing and how she planned to go about getting published, I flooded her with options, from specific writing groups to hook up with, the path of traditional publishing, my long journey on becoming a better writer, etc., but she wasn’t interested. She had a plan. That was that. And while she could’ve written a better piece had she done things differently, in the end she got what she wanted:  her story told, her way.

    Thanks for your helpful suggestions.

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