Two things that greatly disturb me about the Internet age, is that people have the ability to mass communicate their opinions, and they can behave presumptively without consequence. Granted, if I wanted to write a novel two decades ago, the potential for popularity would have been nill. The same with wanting to independently publish. What I’m saying it that, before, I would not have had the opportunity to reach very many people outside of a “word of mouth” scenario. Today, the potential of such information spreading has increased, and with it, the potential for many, many people to assist with helping me do things right.
There is an old saying that I grew up hearing. “If I wanted your help, I would have asked for it.”
That’s a fantastic phrase. And today, it seems all but lost on the masses that browse the superhighway of the world wide web, looking to unload their well intentions and good will onto others. Let me give you all a little example of a scenario that may or may not have happened to you.
You are scrubbing a lasagna pan, and the burnt on pasta and cheese and sauce has sat in for almost three days, while everyone in the house took their time to eat the left overs. Eventually, the pan makes its way into the sink, and there is sits for several hours. While the pan is sitting there, you have a family member or neighbor come by for something mundane and trivial, and while they are there, you begin to tackle that pan. Not because you are embarrassed about having a dirty dish in the sink, but because you want that person to see that you are busy, and they should come back later.
While scrubbing on this pan, the person offers their advise on how best to scrub that pan. Ah-hah! They reveal some ancient long forgotten secret from civilizations past about how the ancient Egyptians removed lasagna burn-on with sand, or sharpened rocks, and instead of actually helping you; they frustrate you to no end.
Maybe this person actually took a cooking class, and their “professor” showed them some basic domestic cleaning skills, and now because they have a few hours of home economics, they are an expert, and want to either demonstrate their superiority by “helping” or “imparting” their wisdom.
I’m all for people sharing their opinions, so long as they understand that I am under no obligation to use it. And that by asking for their opinion, I usually mean to say that, “I’m still going to do it my way.”
On the road to creating a novel, there have been several instances when I have encountered people that want to “help” or “assist” me with my creation. Sometimes, many times in fact, I gain more creative inspiration from simply talking the idea out. Not from their suggestions or opinions; and that isn’t to say that people’s opinions can’t be valuable. I place the opinions of my friends and family paramount to almost anyone else’s.
What annoys me the most are the grammarians that have suddenly sprung from the woodwork. Every time I turn around there they are pointing at something, or “helping.”
Here’s the juicy gossip, the big slice, the skinny, the whole hog.
I don’t take advice on writing from anyone. Not because I think I’m better than a horde of grammar scholars. But because academia isn’t my calling, story telling is. I may not win the hand every time; but I promise my near two decades of writing will give your seven years of scholarly opinion a dedicated run for its money.
Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I need to get back to writing, and avoid more helpful advice.