This post was crafted during the editing of Origins!
I am currently deep in the editing process of Origins. The edit has been an interesting process. Small edits relating to grammar or sentence structure are not so bad, everyone and their mom makes those when writing. Being told you have made some poor choices on character development, plot, flow, and plausibility knocks my pride. I know I shouldn’t let it affect me that way, but it does. It led me to wonder why. Why in particular it makes me so upset?
I am accustomed to criticism. I get plenty heaped on me at work (the majority is constructive, gratefully). It comes from the attending radiologist who reviews my reports, my fellow residents, and behind the scenes from the ordering provider who may not agree with my interpretation. Does the criticism ding my pride sometimes? Sure does, but not in the same way, or to the same degree as criticism of my creative work.
Maybe it is because radiology is literally black or white (or a shade of gray…pun intended). Either the finding is there or not, the only gray area is in the interpretation of the finding. The only other sliver of creativity I experience during the day is constructing an appropriate report. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I thoroughly enjoy my work. I feel at home in a helping field, especially one with a heavy technical aspect. My job is not emotional; if it were, it would be extremely depressing considering the amount of human suffering that the images I interpret represent. As a professional, I have to place my patient’s interests before my own emotions.
Paul Cezanne said, “A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” Creative work, especially writing, is meant to be emotional or it wouldn’t be attractive. If you took out the love triangle bleeding with teenage emotion from Twilight, you would have a bland, unattractive vampire novel. Take out the love from Harry Potter’s dead parents and the story would not be nearly as compelling. I guarantee you Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling were emotionally connected to their characters and stories. Did they handle the criticism of the edit well? Probably, because they are professionals.
Writing Infusion: Origins has been an emotional process, an exercise in frustration, fulfillment, and self-analysis. This final process has been the most difficult emotionally. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that if you start with an emotional product, you will end with an emotional product. I am not necessarily surprised at my reaction to criticism regarding my novel, but as time passes, I hope to become a professional with the ability to separate my emotions from my creative work.
To those who are helping with the edit…heap it on me! You guys are doing excellent work and I truly appreciate it! I promise I will be professional about it .