1. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    596
    Likes Received:
    1,465
    Location:
    uluru australia

    Your tolerance level for mediocrity

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by paperbackwriter, May 13, 2018.

    My singing voice does sound strained at times. And it lacks vibrancy and strength. My guitar skills aren't always up to par. I would never be mistaken for a pro. Just ask my partner who has to listen to me practise every day. :)
    When I listen to amateurs on youtube, do covers, I can at least appreciate the effort and knowledge that is required. My tolerance level is low for the singers and guitarists who apparently have no awareness of their own low level. Humility is more attractive in my view, and can be easily detected. As can overconfidence.
    My writing skills? Well they remain mediocre at best, especially if I were to attempt a short story for instance. My interest is more in short essay type articles anyway.
    But I remind myself that it is easy to criticise and harder to encourage and build. And what I really respect are those people on forums like this, who take the time to wade through "mediocre" writing pieces, and offer constructive criticism. That deserves recognition. That deserves credit.
     
    BayView likes this.
  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,212
    Location:
    London, UK
    I have noticed that I'm less likely to critique 'mediocre' pieces now. I used to deliberately choose workshop pieces with technical problems (spelling, grammar, etc) because it was easy to critique that. Now I'm only really interested in critiquing the higher level stuff - characters, plot, style - and if a piece is riddled with basic errors that would be like telling a chef she used a little too much basil for the garnish and ignoring that the lasagna underneath was burned to a blackened brick.

    You've given me a kick to start critiquing more in the workshop again. I know that wasn't your intention, but thanks anyway. :D
     
  3. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    8,100
    Likes Received:
    4,585
    I define mediocre as moderate quality, not really good but not really bad, either. Under this definition, most pieces you will find in the workshop are mediocre at best. You know a piece is mediocre when the critique is mediocre. Mediocre critique consists of two parts--lukewarm praise and ambiguous criticism.

    Lukewarm praise means "I found it interesting" or "I found it intriguing," or "I would keep reading." This is vastly different from, "I can't stop thinking about your story" or "I sprayed milk out of my nose because it was so funny."

    Ambiguous criticism is a little harder to detect. Basically, you know the critic has complaints, but you're not exactly sure what. Maybe the critic isn't either. Something like, "I was confused" or "I found it hard to be invested in the character," as opposed to something specific like, "too explicit" or "your writing is incomprehensible." In the first specific case, it comes down to taste, and in the second, your writing is clearly bad, not mediocre.

    If half the people LOVE your story, and the other half DISLIKE it, I would say your work is probably not mediocre. Mediocre pieces tend to get a lot of lukewarm praise and a lot of ambiguous criticism.

    Mediocre pieces are probably the hardest to critique, and this why they wind up getting the sort of criticism I described. A good piece is good enough that you know exactly what's wrong with it. "Look, half your sentences are splendid. The other half aren't. Fix the bad ones so that they match the quality of the good ones." Likewise with bad pieces. "You really need to read Strunk & White."

    Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure how to critique a mediocre piece myself. Every writer is different, so you can't really tell them how to be "good." The best you can hope for is that they understand they have to keep working, as do we all.
     
    paperbackwriter likes this.
  4. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    596
    Likes Received:
    1,465
    Location:
    uluru australia
    Mediocre critiques? That's for another thread. :)
     
  5. Xayah for Dinner

    Xayah for Dinner Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2018
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    8
    if we're only talking about creative literature, I rarely read other people's work. I mean sometimes I do if it's for a good enough reason.

    It's not a question of tolerance, it's a question of... Taste.
     
  6. katina

    katina Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2018
    Messages:
    1,800
    Likes Received:
    768
    Location:
    London
    I see the good in everyone ;)
    I think mediocrity is good because it allows others to think they are better others.
    it swings inroundabouts.

    idiocity however is something else.
     
  7. Malisky

    Malisky Fortune cookie Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Messages:
    2,582
    Likes Received:
    4,678
    Location:
    Where still days stand eternally.
    I'm tough and overcritical I think. Very few artists inspire me to the point of becoming influential to me. I might like millions but I love a few. They influence me positively and negatively too. Positively because they set a direction to follow, negatively because their bar is too god-damned high. This means that I know what I like, I know what I want to do, but I get easily frustrated because I'm never consistently satisfied with myself.

    Whenever I compare myself to others or think about how much more effort and energy I need to place into something in particular, I lose patience and get intimidated. Especially when I'm already tired and beat myself up to keep on to cover the ground. You know, questions like "Am I progressing now or just wasting my time? - Is this wise or am I just following a delusion? - Will I ever get better?! - When, when WHEN?!" pop into my head aaand... that's a sign that I burned a few more brain cells than needed in the process, inspiration took a jump from the seventh floor because she got bored with all the technicalities I obsessed over for who-knows-how-long and I need to step back. The pissed off "I want it all and I want it now" mindset is my red flag at least. Whenever I rest, clear out my head and focus into what I'm doing I progress better. Everything shows in the results. Sometimes you need to take some time out and reflect. What works and what doesn't? Being mindful to reassess old patterns, spot the flaws and change them. But yes. Overall, my standards are pretty high. I'm not even halfway there I think.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice