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Jonathan Malm - December 5, 2012

How Transparent Should I Be?

Jonathan Malm - December 5, 2012

A Humbling Experience

Jonathan Malm - December 5, 2012
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Last week I was working on a guest chapter for a friend’s book. He gave me the subject, I wrote the chapter. It was fun. But I just wasn’t feeling what I was writing. So I sent it to another friend whose writing skills I admire greatly – he’s about to get a book contract. I knew he’d steer me in the right direction. Here’s the text conversation we had after I sent that email: (It was very humbling…)

Friend: What’s this section of the book about?
Jonathan Malm: How apathy affects our lives.
Friend: Does he have a book contract?
Jonathan Malm: He’s self publishing.
Friend: Ya. Figured. If he had a contract I was gonna just give up. 🙂:)
Jonathan Malm: Haha. Whatya mean?
Friend: The writing is mediocre at best.
Jonathan Malm: Ahhh…I see you missed the part where that’s what I wrote….

You see, they thought they were editing something my friend had written. So they felt a liberty to criticize how badly written it was. But no…it was mine. It was humbling.

But I want that in my life. I want people willing to be honest with me. It wasn’t my best work. I was missing out on a very important element. And my friend walked me through what I needed to change. I’m convinced the chapter will be so much stronger with what I changed.

And unless my friend was willing to be brutally honest with me, I would have never known. I encourage you, get people in your life that will be brutally honest with you. Then respond humbly to their criticism – don’t get mad. Pretend you’re showing them someone else’s work if you need to. But get that honest feedback. Your art will be much stronger for it.

[Photo Credit]

6 comments

  1. Jonathan, your writing isn’t bad. You have interesting ideas, which I find to be more important than spelling and grammar; even though I use to be a copyeditor. Keep writing and read others’ writing. Most importantly, even if the topic is uninteresting to you, find a way to spice up the language or personalize it. Readers will become more engaged with your writing if you have fun.

    1. Thanks for the tip! The friend wasn’t criticizing my grammar or spelling…it truly was just poorly written. The next version I did worked perfectly though. 😛

  2. Jonathan, your writing isn’t bad. You have interesting ideas, which I find to be more important than spelling and grammar; even though I use to be a copyeditor. Keep writing and read others’ writing. Most importantly, even if the topic is uninteresting to you, find a way to spice up the language or personalize it. Readers will become more engaged with your writing if you have fun.

    1. Thanks for the tip! The friend wasn’t criticizing my grammar or spelling…it truly was just poorly written. The next version I did worked perfectly though. 😛

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