Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Humble Pie

With the exception of certain universal life experiences, no other process has been quite as humbling as learning how to write well.
Knowledge is proud that it knows so much; wisdom is humble that it knows no more. William Cowper
For one thing, everyone thinks they’re an expert on writing, by virtue of the high literacy rates in our society and the sophisticated narratives that populate our entertainment, our news, even our interactions with one another. Add to this the critique process that is often necessary to strengthen a writer’s craft and their work—a necessary evil but one that often shakes the resolve of many beginning writers (as well as those at every stage of their career).

Image courtesy of Jaypeg on Flickr

Criticism can be brutal, confusing, and sometimes even helpful, but I believe only a humble writer can learn something from it. You have to be open to the process, and that means you need to set your ego aside.

Then there’s the whole rejection thing, and how you’ll probably accumulate dozens or more rejections for every acceptance you get.

Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble. Shahrukh Khan

I’ve wrestled before with the idea of the arrogant writer, and still believe that writers are guided by the hope that our words have meaning rather than the expectation that they do simply because they've been recorded. 

I've never had a humble opinion. If you've got an opinion, why be humble about it? Joan Baez 

After all, our first amendment right to write is a privilege not every one in this world enjoys. To have the time to indulge in writing is another privilege not everyone has.

I know that writing has humbled me. Not only in what I do and do not know, but also in the knowledge that the odds are so very great. Each and every time someone further along in their career takes a moment to reach out to me, I am humbled.

Am I alone in feeling this way? What is it about writing that has made you humble?

1 comment:

Laura Marcella said...

I agree completely with your last statement. I'm humbled when a published writer reaches out to me in some way, whether it's commenting on my blog or acknowledging one of my tweets. Every time I put pencil to paper I'm humbled by the enormity of what I'm doing. I'm one writer out of thousands who are pursuing the same goals and dreams. We can't take anything for granted.

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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