July 2, 2010

Hubris

Following on yesterday’s post, I was thinking about hubris. Also, I was helping my friend Brad Green with his query letter. I met him on Facebook and have enjoyed talking about with him about writing. We’ve had long email discussions.

But when talking with him ~ and with anyone I haven’t known for a long time ~ I’m never quite sure what to take for granted they know and what they don’t know. I try to help, to give advice. I don’t want to come across as a pompous ass but neither do I want to undersell what I’ve spent years reading about and thinking about and learning. Not that I’m a little obsessive.

I sometimes write something on this blog or in an email, and then when I come back to read it later I cringe. God, I sound like a know-it-all. My tone seems all wrong. Rather than sounding assured and wise, I sound pedantic. Then it makes me want to quite writing.

Which brings me to hubris. What right do I have to dispense advice? What right do I have to write at all? Not just advice but the fiction that I love? Why should my take on the world be at all unique or interesting?

That’s the thing. Maybe that’s the wrong question. Maybe nobody has the right, or everybody does. I shouldn’t worry about whether or not I have the right ~ because if I’m worrying about that, I have a case of the Shoulds, and the first thing that will do is cut off all creativity. That’s the editor/parent/good girl coming to put me in my box. Creativity and writing is about breaking out of that box and writing “the truth” as we see it.

So, know that I write with the best intentions, even if it comes across all wrong. Please read with a forgiving heart, and I will continue to try to be the wise and entertaining party guest, not your weird Uncle Harry who monopolizes the dinner conversation and has to have the last word on everything.

What I'm Reading Today: Looking forward to reading my friend Pembroke Sinclair's next story, "Hank's Inspiration," the third in a collection of four.

2 comments:

Pembroke said...

If someone asks you for your help or advice, you should feel flattered. They believe that you have the knowledge and expertise to help them. If you just happen to read their query letter and then start giving them tips on how to fix it, without them asking you to, then you should probably feel like a know-it-all!

Tamara said...

Maybe I'm both flattered and a know-it-all :-) Kidding. Good point!

Yes, I know I'm very grateful for all the help people ~ ahem ~ have given me!