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Green Room - Week 30 - Day 8

Some days, it just takes one comment for everything to dovetail right into each other, and make a lot of things snap into place mentally for you.

In this case, it was one from yesterday where someone doubted their own qualifications to offer concrit over at the Killing Floor: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/811580.html

The responses to it were great - but I just want to add one of my own: You are here because you love to write, as well as read. As someone who does both - you have something to offer.

Maybe it won't be the "This sentence would work better if you did X to it" or "drop this section". But you can say "This part didn't quite work for me" and offer insights into why you felt that way.

You have something to offer.


Which brought me back to all of the times over the years (from pre-Idol right up to earlier this season) when there has been someone overly critical of the work of others. It's easy to tear things down. It's much more difficult to see the potential in something that's not quite there, and figure out a way to help that person "get it there".

That's a fight I've been involved in all of my life. Trying to get people to understand that they have something to say that's *worth hearing*.

For all of the people over the years who have advocated restricting Idol and who should be allowed to compete, or who was "wasting our time" (something I've definitely heard from some corners) it's the people who have been struggling, but then make a breakthrough, even if it's just a minor one - those are the people that I love seeing, that I love helping.

The Idol process can make good writers even better. Part of that process is seeing people of all sorts of backgrounds and skill levels side by side, working together toward that goal.

Everyone has something to offer.

I believed it then. I believe it now.


Which brought me to thinking back on how many years I ignored the cries "We want Idol merchandise!" and the "Allow us to give you money!!!" because I didn't think I was worth it. There are tons of great causes out there, and people doing good things. I didn't see myself as one of them, despite all of the emails I would get telling me what a "life changing experience" Idol was.

I'm finally at a point in my life that I've decided "What the hell" and am starting to see if there is actually a market for that kind of stuff. (Of course, if I had done it back in Season 3 and 4, I probably could have made a lot more. :D But I wasn't ready for it, and honestly, it would have led to more problems then as well, because of that)

The modifications to the Menu now work - all the links go where they are supposed to go.

The T-shirt is also available: http://teespring.com/LJIdol

Of course, I thought of a bunch of ways I could have made it better (and then did a mock up of it, and it would have increased the price of the shirt to about $15 instead of $11) but I'm going to continue with this run. (10 shirts ordered is what is needed to make the run, and we have 4 orders in less than 24 hours) If nothing else, you can say you have a "first run of the Idol shirts". :)

I needed the confidence in myself in order to get to this point. Of course that has a momentary blip whenever I have a "Why do you need money?" response. :D But fortunately, I haven't gotten very much of those... I think it's pretty obvious why anyone "needs money". ;)

As I should - Idol is something that I believe in. Always have. Always will. We are doing great things here.


Which brings me to "What we are doing here" - which is waiting for the Gatekeepers to render their decision.

Some people are going to be really happy. Some are going to be sad.

But everyone who has reached this point - however they got here, should be proud of themselves. You have something to offer, and I hope that, regardless of the outcome, you keep on offering it!


( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2014 03:51 pm (UTC)
First. Finally.

Also, I completely agree. Simply being a lover of words is enough to give concrit. Our unique positions as audience members, as people who do not live in the head of the one who had written the story, is enough to give concrit. I would go so far as to say that anyone who is likely to read this blog or participate in LJ Idol or make it to week 30 could even give good concrit.

Or maybe I just wanted to justify frist.

Edited at 2014-12-10 03:57 pm (UTC)
Dec. 10th, 2014 06:46 pm (UTC)
Man, if we have to start justifying our firsts I'm going to be in BIG trouble, LOL. But congrats! :)

Also, I agree with your statement about giving concrit.
Dec. 10th, 2014 04:18 pm (UTC)
I agree on how important it is to realize people's potential. My policy for years has been that when young people and prison inmates send me submissions to Wild Violet, I always comment with constructive criticism. Some people gain a lot from it. Every once in a while, though, it results in a hilarious letter, where someone writes back haughtily to defend every single one of the aspects of their writing I suggested they revisit. Those are the people, I remain convinced, whose writing will never grow and change.

But everyone who reads DOES have a valid right to provide their feedback. I always value those viewpoints about my own writing, which is why I like the Killing Floor.
Dec. 10th, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
Completely agree on being a reader and writer serving as qualification to provide feedback - IF you can and do manage your tone. Some writers are more sensitive than others when receiving feedback, and getting crit that comes across as harsh or patronizing can really shut a person down and make them less likely to push forward, learn from what they are hearing, and grow as a writer. I have seen many people offer constructive ideas to improve a piece, but couch it in language that puts me on the defensive - even when it's not my piece being evaluated. I think it's an important watch out to be sure that we are telling the truth but still keeping the other person's feelings and perspective in mind.
Dec. 10th, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
I think a large portion of this is just keeping in mind when we sharing our perspectives and opinions and approaches to a piece that those things aren't universal. It's really easy to slip into language that's very sweeping: "this doesn't work" is quite different from "this doesn't work for me" and adding "and I don't know why" is perfectly valid. That, and well, empathy. Writing is hard work. Even if tearing something apart is satisfying, it's good to keep in mind that another human being worked hard at it, even if you can't see it.

I worry a lot about the tone of the crit I give, and I'm sure I don't always succeed. I love engaging critically with things - I'm a judgey person, and I don't see that as a bad thing. I like getting down into the whys and hows and the what-ifs and examining my own expectations, desires, and reactions to things. And I do this for, um, everything, including lots of things I love (I love a lot of problematic media. Heh. Ask me about Doctor Who sometimes. BE PREPARED FOR A LOT OF WORDS IN RESPONSE. *grins*). I can think something's really awesome and still want to tear it apart to see how it works, and how it could maybe be better. I never want that enthusiasm to come across as cruelty, though, or casual dismissal of another person's perspective and work. It's hard, sometimes.
(no subject) - gratefuladdict - Dec. 10th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lrig_rorrim - Dec. 10th, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gratefuladdict - Dec. 10th, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eternal_ot - Dec. 11th, 2014 06:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
Oh man... I'm one of those people who leaves loooong and usually detailed comments of concrit. And, yeah, I can see how that might be intimidating! But honestly, really-o truly-o, all it takes is an opinion. We've all got those.

It takes an opinion and the willingness to share it. Opinions are valuable! "This sentence really hit me hard. I got emotional at this point" or "I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to be laughing here, but I was. It wasn't scary" are important things for a writer to hear if they want to improve. Now getting into the *why* of it not being scary or it having a big impact or whatever is harder, but anyone can do it with practice, I'm convinced.

And the more you do it for other people's work (even if you don't share - but sharing is great!) the easier it becomes to do with your own stuff. I tend to shelve things for months at a time and then come back to them and go "oh... yeah... I was trying for comedy and this just doesn't work, does it?" or whatever.

Also, it's one thing to have gatekeepers as judges (meep!) and quite another to have them as the arbiters of who gets to play at all. I'm really happy it's an open contest. It's waaaaay more fun that way! Plus, it's hella fun improving and watching everyone else growing and changing too.
Dec. 10th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
Your crit is always really great, so. :D

I agree with you re: gatekeepers as arbiters. If there was a minimum "you have to be this good to get in", I don't think I would have played in Season 8, let alone this season. :)
(no subject) - clauderainsrm - Dec. 10th, 2014 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfshellvenus - Dec. 10th, 2014 09:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2014 04:50 pm (UTC)
LJ Beta Testers
I've been invited to be a Beta Tester for Livejournal - and they asked me if there was anyone that I knew who wanted to be as well...

so I'm throwing it out there? Anyone want to Beta Test the new toys LJ is developing? :)
Dec. 10th, 2014 05:31 pm (UTC)
RE: LJ Beta Testers
I do. Except with my real account.
Re: LJ Beta Testers - clauderainsrm - Dec. 10th, 2014 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2014 05:58 pm (UTC)
Maybe I should try to do some concrit tonight between laundry... I've been feeling too bloody self-conscious to do it because I don't want to piss people off and have been worried that maybe my tone will be wrong.
Dec. 10th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I kind of have the same problem. Who am I to judge somebody else's writing?
(no subject) - kickthehobbit - Dec. 10th, 2014 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Dec. 10th, 2014 09:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ryl - Dec. 10th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Dec. 10th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dmousey - Dec. 11th, 2014 02:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Dec. 11th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lrig_rorrim - Dec. 10th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Dec. 10th, 2014 10:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - reckless_blues - Dec. 11th, 2014 04:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2014 06:54 pm (UTC)
YAY t-shirt! I ordered one in purple, and shared the link for the shirt on my Facebook so hopefully you'll get the requisite 10 ordered (I think mine was the fifth). W00t!
Dec. 11th, 2014 03:45 am (UTC)
We're pretty close to getting the 10!

Yeah, this is going to happen.

I need to order myself one once I get paid!
Dec. 10th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
Will be getting that T-shirt on my next payday! (which is before the 20 days are up, so that should be OK)
Dec. 10th, 2014 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you sir, and everyone else, who answered my post about not feeling qualified to 'concrit' someone's work.

I can always offer an opinion though, as many of you have reminded me.

Different perceptions and outlooks on a piece are always a good thing for growth. I do feel intimidated by the caliber of writer in LJI, but that only serves to make me want to learn more about the process and work harder.

On the subject of tone and sensitivity towards critiquing another's piece, I look at it this way:

I have had no creative or formal classes in writing other than books (which was an addiction in itself, the library was my best friend)

It takes me days to write a piece and then more time to tweak. I don't have the luxury of spellcheck or (lord knows I need it) punctuation check. I take all this into account and then figure others might not either. It has a tendency to make me be compassionate toward, and give a kind comment on, everyone's piece.

The voices in here shine bright ya know? I'm glad to lift my glowstick with them. ;-)

(no subject) - roina_arwen - Dec. 10th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dmousey - Dec. 11th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clauderainsrm - Dec. 11th, 2014 03:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2014 10:48 pm (UTC)
Also, commentary on our Week 30 entries has been awfully low - I think everyone has been busy busy busy in The Killing Floor!

Gary, can you link up the Topic Thread post in the next GR, so folks remember where they can go to read the entries for this week? I don't know about anyone else, but I still enjoy commentary!
Dec. 10th, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
So it's not just my entry, then? I thought that perhaps they just didn't like it!
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Dec. 11th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dmousey - Dec. 11th, 2014 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anyonesghost - Dec. 11th, 2014 02:50 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2014 11:16 pm (UTC)
I ordered one. Now I can say that I competed in LJ Idol and I have the T-shirt!
Dec. 11th, 2014 03:47 am (UTC)
"All I got was this t-shirt... and this mental breakdown!"
Dec. 11th, 2014 03:43 am (UTC)
Looking at the votes I've received so far - this could be *close*.
Dec. 11th, 2014 04:22 am (UTC)
That's kinda been true for weeks now, hasn't it? There isn't a weak writer here, really ... at this point it's not so much about quality as endurance. At this point, all bets are off.
Dec. 11th, 2014 03:58 am (UTC)
( 44 comments — Leave a comment )


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