1. ugu
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    ugu Member

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    Do They Help You or Hurt You #3: Compliments

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ugu, Jun 30, 2008.

    So. I have been lurking in this one writing community, and this morning I decided to post a story I just finished. Within minutes, one of the better writers on the website who isn't especially generous when it comes to reviewing commented on the story saying something like: "I can't wait to read more of your work."

    On the one hand, that compliment made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. On the other hand, it also made me feel like I'm supposed to produce high-quality work all the time.

    This is ridiculous. I thrive on sloppy writing. That story I posted I happened to have worked on for weeks - a tad bit too long to my liking. Now thanks to that one compliment I received, I have to create a new account and establish myself as the mediocre writer that I am. Because I like spreading my crap for the whole world to see. Pfft.
     
  2. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Maybe that comment shows that you're writing has IMPROVED. Every writer is pretty bad to start out with, but if they keep at it their writing becomes better, and better, and better. Don't shrug off the comment, and don't belittle yourself and your writing.
     
  3. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am sorry but are you being serious? If not, I don't quite get the joke. If you are then that is just ridiculous. If getting complimented on your work is the encouragement you need to continue to produce high quality work, then you should keep going for it. Surely the point of writing is to write to the best of your ability, rather than how you can be bothered to write.

    There is no point people ctiring your work if what you are saying is true as you don't even want to improve. I don't understand it.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ugu,

    Yep, posting crap for others to read and comment on seems to be the way to go. Why take time or put in any real effort? It's better that way, so those who take the time to read, comment and help can actually be wasting their time. Everybody actually prefers to read substandard crap anyway.

    Okay, now for the real answer (commentary on my part). What's your point? It's easier to keep everyone's expectations low because you're lazy?

    Everything a writer writes is not always going to be great (or an example of their full capability). What seems like a good idea at the beginning may not work out in the end as anticipated...maybe it needs editing and revision, maybe it needs to be placed in a deep hole and burried. But with practice and effort, on average what a writer produces will improve in quality over time...if they try.

    Also note, on many forums, moderators and administrators often have access to ISP numbers, so changing a name may not be the solution to resetting efforts at the 'lazy' level.

    Terry
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how can anyone 'thrive' on sloppy writing?... check the dictionary for the meaning of that word...

    or were you deliberately treating us to some of your 'slops'? ;-)
     
  6. Adelaide
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    Adelaide Member

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    I think the OPer was being facetious with "making a new account" and meant she consistently sets low standards for herself and that's how she is able to keep writing. With the new expectation of producing quality work, the idea of writing is very intimidating.
     
  7. Sato Ayako
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    Sato Ayako Contributing Member

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    Either the writer was feeling generous that day, or he was just tugging a leg--yours. Without knowing this particular writer, I can't even begin to guess if s/he meant the former or the latter. In my experience, people like that tend not to mean it when they give such compliments. Then again, most of my "less generous" reviewers have gone so far as to call my work "piss" or "stupid s-t".

    That's the problem with compliments. After you get them, you wonder two things: did s/he really mean it? and: now am I expected to be perfect every time?

    Take compliments. Appreciate them. Turn to them when you're feeling low and ignore them when you're not. Be suspicious of compliments that come without criticism (though it doesn't always work the other way around!) Whether you like it or not, you're probably going to remember that compliment for weeks, if not months, if not forever, and sometimes it'll make you happy. Other times it will disturb you.

    It's part of being a writer.

    Maybe it's not so much you feel you're almost expected to produce high-quality work, it's that you're afraid that you'll spit out so many good stories, people will expect a lot out of you and you don't want to disappoint. Maybe you don't even realize that. Whether you do or don't, I know how that feels. You're delighted that maybe your hours and years of slaving are finally paying off. You're also terrified. You might be good? What kind of responsibilities does that bring?

    I've actually created new accounts on writing forums before just because I was starting to get too many compliments. It didn't feel right because I knew, deep down, my writing was not as good. As you make friends on forums, you tend to get more compliments, though if your friends are really being friends, they'll come out with honest criticisms, too.

    Not sure if you're joking about the new account, though. Seems to have a few people's hackles up.
     
  8. Sandy Banks
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    Sandy Banks Member

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    I understand where your coming from. I think the best thing to do is to just forget all comments. They don't really matter and shouldnt make to much of a difference to your writing. Remember that this is just a writing forum that anyone can join, not some bastion of literary critisism. I also kinda agree with the poster above. Although i always appreciate the comments i get for my work, and i try to post insightfull ones for others, the "no posting until you review rule" creates a situation in which alot of inane comments are posted. I reckon 90% of comments (just a guess) consist of nothing but critisisms on spelling, punctuation, and grammer, which i think are the least important aspects of a piece of work. (unless the SPAG is so bad that its unreadable, which it never really is). Its a problem because if there wasnt the no posting until you review rule then there wouldnt be any interaction what so ever. It'd just be everyone posting their own work.
     
  9. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    If you're getting nothing but compliments, then you kinda have to ignore them, because obviously something isn't right.

    But compliments mixed with constructive criticisms shouldn't be ignored, because they tell you the things you need to keep up.

    But I think the whole attitude of "compliments are bad" is a bit weak, because without any compliments the temptation is just to stop altogether, which is even worse than continuing to write sloppily.

    I know what you mean about "thriving on sloppy writing", but you sometimes have to put the effort in and produce something higher than what you normally produce.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Just as pointing out flaws is most useful if specific elements are pointed out, compliments are most useful if they are specific.
    is far more helpful than:
    All I get from the latter comment is that someone was in a hurry to say something expected and nice and then move on.
     
  11. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Compliments (of the genuine variety, i. e., giving actual details about what is good) go both ways with me. On the one hand, they greatly encourage me to keep writing and sharing.

    On the other hand, I've come to depend on them too much, and of course they are rarely to be found, so I'm often very discouraged.

    Oddly, while I might wonder if someone was sincere with a compliment, I don't recall ever agonizing that I'll have to keep writing well or better to keep people satisfied. Maybe that's because I don't really have readers to disappoint. :/

    Compliments of the "Great writing, keep it up!" variety are just worthless and irritating. (WHAT is so great about it?--and seriously, do you think I was going to stop writing because of a lack of generic compliments?) I honestly believe the people who comment on an entire story to just say "Loved it!" or whatever didn't actually read a thing.
     

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