How do you deal with feeling fragile?

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sierramcconnell
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by sierramcconnell » September 12th, 2010, 8:16 pm

You learn to take things with grains of salt and doses of pepper. That, and I'm on a good amount of anti-convulsant drugs so I can always blame my mistakes on those.

IT WAS THE DRUGS THAT DID IT!

[cough]

Actually, I've been writing off and on for pretty much my entire life in notebooks and online. I've been posting online since I was fifteen or so. I'm so used to getting comments ranging from "OMG U R SOO AWERSOEM!" to "U SUX LOL" that I've learned it's not the end of the world if someone didn't understand your unique point of view. It's their loss, not yours.

Or...maybe I did forget to...OMG...I DO SUX. I completely forgot to put that sentence over here and...well crap. Oops. At least that wasn't a professional try.

People screw up. Things happen. You live, you learn.

But in case of emergency, there's always a pair of pajamas, a snuggly bed, and a cozy couple of BJD babies for me to hug. And sewing. I love to sew.

Then tomorrow, I'll pound away at the keyboard again to prove I'm awesome. ;3
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

Steppe
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by Steppe » September 12th, 2010, 10:03 pm

Once I stumbled onto the implications of complication for reader rapport and resonance and setting, plot, idea, character, and event and unity and magnitude and outcome payoff, etc, I'd made what I'm convinced is the most and last crucial investigation and discovery and application and testing step in my poet's journey. Not the end-all, be-all, there is no final solution, no absolute answer, no singular secret discovery, but at least the last piece of a very complicated puzzle, and the one attribute, simple as it is, that my writing was deficient in. I'm not asking what else do I have to learn anymore. Now the question is, what does the project I'm working on need to completely, clearly represent my creative vision?

Polymath, was the missing piece of the circle, of storytelling craftsman's tools, tucked in the listing bit above?
What attribute was it that you felt your technique was missing, and once you identified it, you then felt the loop closed satisfactorily for you in terms of comfort value and confidence with your own quality levels for the full progression of a completed conceptualization to the finalized execution of piece(s).

It sounded like you were driving at something subtle but extremely important to all well crafted stories.

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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by Steppe » September 12th, 2010, 10:20 pm

On topic.
Death to critics!
They are only to be allowed a final death, as a fitting reward for suffering, after a long, laborious, tormenting run, through a labyrinth of ancient and modern technologies; known to counter-tortures throughout the ages immemorial.

With a bit less histrionic vitriolic diatribe this time.
The Internet is good practice for toughening ones shields.
Somewhere I read you say you had a wealth of life experiences that had lessened your desire to engage in casual cruelty of any form and that's always a good thing in general. Alas part of the written word these days is the abundance of it due to modern technology. The only critics you should take seriously are the ones who have invested the time required to examine your work. All others are merely drive-by shooters in the information age.

I'm fifty years old and love play shooting games on line that simulate war.
The amount of criticism the kids level at each other would make a *real* soldier blush.
Pay attention to the people that want to help forward your work skills; and also those that take into regard that their own actions toward self and others may follow them for an eternity or two or three dozen.

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polymath
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by polymath » September 12th, 2010, 11:11 pm

Steppe wrote:
Once I stumbled onto the implications of complication . . .
Polymath, was the missing piece of the circle, of storytelling craftsman's tools, tucked in the listing bit above?
What attribute was it that you felt your technique was missing, and once you identified it, you then felt the loop closed satisfactorily for you in terms of comfort value and confidence with your own quality levels for the full progression of a completed conceptualization to the finalized execution of piece(s).

It sounded like you were driving at something subtle but extremely important to all well crafted stories.
Complication is it. I'd been operating on an assumption it means about the same as conflict, which, in literary terminology, is often cited as the single most important aspect of a narrative in its wholes and pieces. Maass among many other poeticists throughout history name conflict as vital to an opening, and throughout a narrative. Complication and conflict do have subtle similarities, leading to misunderstandings and confusion. Their connotative nuances are far apart.

Conflict in literary terms as I know it is a diametric opposition of outcomes related to stakes, i.e., life or death, salvation or damnation, riches or rags, acceptance or rejection, etc. Complication on the other hand is neither necessarily diametric in opposition nor stakes based. Complication is more vital to opening inciting causes, rising action, climaxes, falling action, and outcomes (denouements) than conflict. However, from complication springs conflict and every other facet of a fully-realized narrative. Complication is what disturbs equilibrium, incites a protagonist to act, to fail, to try, try again, to unequivocally, irrevocably win through or finally, irrevocably, unequivocally fail and accommodate to a new normal equilibrium.

The answer for me came from revisiting the dictionary definition of denouement: the final outcome of a narrative's main dramatic complication. I was getting there while trying to come to a satisfactory accommodation with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The story faded from the news and effectively resolved in the public mind when the well was capped. The immediate main complication's outcome was finalized. The well leaked oil. The drama unfolded in the news in all its exhaustive details. The leak was stopped. The news story more or less satisfactorily concluded. Beginnings are for introducing complications. Middles are for efforts to address complications. Endings are for complication outcomes. Meanwhile, the larger global complications of a fossil fuel-based energy economy remain and remain again otherwise beneath the greater public's notice for the near term future.

(In case there's suspicion I'm off topic as far as dealing with feeling fragile, this is how I deal with it: By learning what I can so my writing confidence and competency are proactively bolstered. Complication: Rejection. Effort: Study. Outcome: Acceptance or rejection again. Note the inciting, motivating causal antagonism of rejection. All of life is a plot with complications.)
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Regan Leigh
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by Regan Leigh » September 13th, 2010, 1:08 am

Margo wrote:You deal with the vulnerability by doing it all over again a few hundred times. Eventually, you build tolerance to the fear of rejection and to rejection itself. Many will even build tolerance to praise, which is actually pretty handy. Praise addiction can be very destructive.

Yep, yep, and yep... :D


I was terrified to show my writing at first. It took a while for me to let others read my stuff. It took even longer for me to post something for a crit. Now? I've learned the best thing is to just keep putting myself out there. I post flashes weekly on another site and usually my blog. I force myself to put up excerpts from my book or lines I'm editing on Twitter. I really do force myself to post things all the time. It toughens me up and reminds me of the great competition out there. (Making me want to work even harder on my edits.) To me, finding success with my writing won't be contingent on one story or one book. I may have to write a dozen books before one stands out. So I keep that in mind. If a flash piece or opening to my novel gets shredded...well, that sucks. :D BUT I know I can always write another flash or another novel.

The main thing to remember? Keep writing. No matter what the criticism may be (or lack of), you only improve by writing more. And there's always another story waiting in the wings... ;)
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by stephmcgee » September 13th, 2010, 7:14 am

J. T. SHEA wrote:Cheekychook, chocolate? YES!

Stephmgee, gummy bears and Swedish fish? Oh, wait, it's gummy bears OR Swedish fish! I was worried there for a moment...

More good points Polymath, though Avoidant Personality Disorder is itself a textbook example of a lazy limiting label, and the textbook is the DSM-4 handbook, an appalling catalogue of such labels future ages will marvel at. Again ironically, the DSM is itself a 'textbook' example of so-called OCD. Is there anything more obsessive or compulsive than trying to label as pathological every slight deviation from an ever narrower definition of 'normal' behavior?
You say that as though there's something wrong with eating them in the same session. :D

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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by amyashley » September 13th, 2010, 11:19 am

Chocolate, YES!


I think practice helps. Take a speech class at a community college. It does wonders for your ability to present material in front of others and receive criticism from strangers.

I also think joining writing groups and online groups is good, as well as just putting your work out there as much as possible. The more you do it, the more critique you get, the easier it is to take. You learn to sift through both positive and negative, you write more in order to present more, and you grow. Giving critique to others is an amazingly beneficial tool as well. You learn that critique is NOT criticism, and it is often meant to be helpful.

I started putting my work out early, in 3rd grade creative writing excercise for a gifted program. We had to critique one another as we wrote chapter books. We went through the entire process of brainstorming for ideas, outlines, character sketches, drafts, and even cover design. I've done acting, even performed Shakespeare in the park, which is very spontaneous and wild. I've been through the speech classes in college and put my work out online. I had readers, 15 of them, reading my 2nd draft of my novel as I was writing. I don't always like to hear critique, but I've learned to accept it and incorporate it into my work. It has taken a long time though, as in 20 years long!

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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by bcomet » September 13th, 2010, 12:54 pm

Mira,
This is such an excellent question. There are so many fragile artists/writers that have so much of value to share, so it is important that their feelings of fragility are attended to.
We all dream of an agent or publisher who will shelter us. But, for the rest of us, we must learn to self care.

~~

A few things to add to this conversation:

*A psychiatrist I know (also a very gifted writer) was asked in medical school how he could pursue psychiatry when he was so sensitive.
His response: "Sensitivity is a Strength."

* A *Postive* Critique Group:
This may take some searching. I have been part of several such groups. In between, were very long gaps, so you have to be persistent and search and know what you are looking for.
What I was looking for:
*a group of eclectic writers (not all just writing the same way or form) with keen interest in the variety of forms.
*kindness but honesty in feedback: NO brutal attacks, NO superiority, but also NO lying either.
*a commitment of all the writers to support each writer in the group towards becoming the very best and the most publishable
they can be.

When I first joined my current group, I was very shy and insecure about my writing. I wasn't sure I could ever, even if I had a chance at publication, use anything but a pen name. The overwhelming feedback has helped me to come out of the closet as a writer. I've gained confidence. I've grown as a writer. I feel my critique group is my team. It has made ALL the difference.

~~

I continue to wonder if I can write nonfiction because I think "opinion" writing is very susceptible to criticism. People who think differently will disagree with another opinion regularly.

But my confidence in my fiction has grown enormously.

~~

One of your great gifts, Mira, is that you touch people. Your sensitivity is, I believe, more of a strength for you too. The fact that you put yourself out there in the right places is incredibly brave and probably helping to pave the way for you. Just look at how deeply you affected this very large forum with your comment on Nathan's blog recently.

Best of good fortune.

-bcomet

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by J. T. SHEA » September 13th, 2010, 1:50 pm

More interesting points, Polymath. The nominally atheistic Sigmund Freud was accused, with some justification, of founding a new religion. Not that I have anything against religions as such, but religion masquerading as science is nearly as bad as the other way round. The DSM likewise is often called a holy text, even by some of its supporters.

The answer to your excellent question is there is no absolute baseline for comparison. And 'normal' and 'healthy' are two different things. Being a democrat was very abnormal in Nazi Germany, for example.

Sierramcconnell, OF COURSE the drugs made you do it! The drugs make us ALL do it! I hear it's now been proven that Genghis Khan was on anticonvulsants too... BTW, I like your picture. You're a doll (literally).

Stephmcgee, Swedish fish flavored gummy bears maybe? I bet J. K. Rowling missed that one!

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polymath
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by polymath » September 13th, 2010, 2:06 pm

Even what's emotionally healthy for the sake of the greater good has no standardizable basis. It's what society dictates is healthy is healthy whether it's true or not. A subtle, but supremely, sublimely profound point of Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 is how a majority rules society can think itself is healthy but actually be cruelly unhealthy in any conscionable interpretation.
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Regan Leigh
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by Regan Leigh » September 13th, 2010, 4:27 pm

Mira -- I also thought of another suggestion. Why not post some stuff in the feedback area of this forum? (Not sure if you have already.) The trick is to preface your post by saying how hard or soft you want your critique. If someone doesn't say otherwise, I just crit the way I would crit my own piece. I do a line by line and then comments after. I don't sugar coat the bad stuff, but I also try my hardest to point out the positives as well. If someone said they wanted a soft crit, I'd avoid a line by line and just tell them briefly what I took from it in a very sandwich method kind of way. :) Maybe you can start with us?

And on a side note, I have no clue how the DSM conversation started. I won't spend much time further derailing Mira's thread, but I did want to chime in on it. I can't stand the DSM for many reasons -- I use it in my own practice -- but there is no real alternative at this point. Without it, treating clients could be quite hard for some when considering treatment options. No client should be handled the same, but a certain diagnosis usually corresponds with a certain type of therapy model being more successful. That's a good thing to know, especially for those needing their insurance to pay for treatment. It's a necessary evil at this point.

/end derail and back to Mira. :D Good luck!
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by stephmcgee » September 13th, 2010, 5:24 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:
Stephmcgee, Swedish fish flavored gummy bears maybe? I bet J. K. Rowling missed that one!
Hmmm...food for thought! (And you can call me Steph or Stephanie. Either's fine. Less cumbersome than my SN.)

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Mira
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by Mira » September 15th, 2010, 8:38 pm

Wow - you guys are so supportive and helpful!! I don't know where to start because I really appreciate everything everyone said.

Thank you so much! I'm going to respond to each and everyone of you, because you are all great.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Melyn - I think you're right about the getting used to it part. Good luck to you as well! :)

Maybegenius - thank you! That was a really helpful perspective, I appreciate your practicality about blogs, too!

Polymath - thank you, but we may be alittle different. I hear that you want useful feedback, and that helps to put things in perspective for you. For me, though, I just want people to say I'm wonderful. And I want them to say it more than once. And I'd love to see the goldenrod! I used the morning glory in my profile picture last week. :)

Holly - thank you! It was fun, now that it's over. :)

Quill - ah, but how do we gird our loins? How, how, how?

Cheekychook - LOL. Chocolate is God's food. Steph - along with gummy bears.

polymath - I've had the same thought. Do we lose good writers because they are sensitive, and isn't that a loss for all of us? Should we so blithly accept that writers have to get tough skins, when maybe not all of them can?

J.T. - I know! I was terrified the first couple of months I posted at Nathan's. Even now, I sometimes get nervous. I wouldn't have thought that of you, though. Thanks for sharing. :)

Margo - you are so on target with the praise addiction! Absolutely. I can see how that could be very destructive. Really.

Sierra - thanks for the reminder that it's all subjective, and if someone didn't get it, then that's their loss. Amen! :)

Steppe - good point about drive by cruelty on the web, and weighing not only the feedback, but the source! thank you.

Regan - I think that's good advice. It's true, like J.T.said, I was scared posting on Nathan's blog, but now it's usually pretty comfortable. Maybe it gets that way with putting your work out there.

amyashley - thanks. That's a good point about learning the benefits of critique, and seeing it as a help, instead of a bop on the head.

bcomet - thank you for your suggestions. Finding a positive critique group would be wonderful. And thank you for your kind words about my commet the other week. You really touched me - thank you.

Regan - that's an idea about posting things and asking people to be gentle. Thanks for your offer to start here..........I'll think about that. :)
----------------------------------------------------------------------

And I never care if folks get off topic for the thread. Go for it.

You guys are terrific. Thank you.

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Mira
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Re: How do you deal with feeling fragile?

Post by Mira » September 15th, 2010, 8:41 pm

Oh, and about the DSM - don't be dissing on my pal.

I LOVE the DSM - I love to diagnose myself and my friends (they love that too.) I use it all the time. Last quarter in grad school, I took an advanced diagnosis class, and now I use it even more. I have the BIG HUGE one, and a little tiny one.

The DSM and I are BFFs.

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