Avant-Derriere Dept.

Pet peeve time.

Sometimes I run into a writer expressing a sentiment which I will paraphrase as follows: I know that the way I write isn't for everyone, and I don't expect everyone to like it. I have my own voice to follow and my own path to walk.

Most every time I hear some variety of this exact sentiment — and I have heard it many times from many parties, myself included — such words are used more often than not as a pre-emptive way of defending bad writing from simple technical criticism. It's a dodge. You just don't get what I'm trying to dooo, maaan.

By bad writing I do not mean writing that deals with "weird" things or "reads funny" or any of those no-brow know-nothing arguments. I mean lazy writing, sloppy writing, inaccurate and shiftless and blowsy writing — in short, writing with no craft, writing that makes other writers with similar ambitions look bad by proxy. To use the above argument is to imply that craft simply isn't important, that anyone who gets worked up about such things is a stick in the mud.

Sorry, no. There's a big difference between taking pride in your work and being unintentionally contemptuous of your audience by not fulfilling your end of the bargain, and by using the cloak of "individuality" or "creativity" as a way to not have to do the work done by every other writer worth his salt. If you want them to enjoy what you create, deliver it gracefully into their hands. Don't drop it on their feet and walk out.

Tags: dharma writing

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2009/08/08 14:57.

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