We’re teaching not only the next generation, but our friends who are writers as well:
On a recent FB post we were discussing min wage and various other topics that brought about some interesting responses. It went from working hard to get ahead so a person didn’t need to accept min wage, to going into the military to get an education, to whether or not kids deserve trophies merely for participating. Are we telling the next generation that simply “showing up” is enough to get the reward, the paycheck, the diploma, the win?
And for our discussion here let’s ask this? How honest should we be with our writer friends? Do we do all 5-star reviews just because they’re friends? Do we give super high scores on entries for writing contests because we don’t want to discourage new authors? Do we gloss over mistakes for our critique partners so we don’t hurt feelings?
What good are we serving in any of these three capacities if we aren’t honest?
I am guilty of every one of these things at one point or another. Okay, as a soccer board member, I didn’t vote to give trophies to everyone just for showing up. In fact, our region fought to keep competition an important factor in play. And we were stronger for it.
However, as a writer, I have glossed over someone’s work, particularly in the beginning when I didn’t realize that I was doing more damage than good.
While defending my post stand on FB, I was honest when I said that I waited 18 years from the time I started to write until my first publication. And part of the reason was that I wasn’t listening and needed more honing of my skills, but also because a lot of friends, family, as well as my early crit group simply were not being honest with me. I had a LONG way to go and I needed to have that pointed out to me.
So I ask it again. Are we teaching failure by not being brutally honest? We don’t have to be cruel, but we have to help people grow instead of stunting their growth by giving everyone the trophy without having to play the game.