Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Invitation for Dialogue

For years, I lived in a vacuum of academia. I’ve taken more English courses than I’m ever going to admit. One of the things I loved most about these courses was the involved, sometimes heated, discussion about a work. Good writing evokes a reaction, contemplation sometimes dialogue between readers, or a reader’s response in writing. In these intimate circles, I learned to focus on the work and to avoid making indictments against my peers or the writer.

Because of the Internet, we can create a virtual environment for discourse. Blogging allows us to create a bridge between reader and writer. For many of us, the ability to form this bridge is gratifying. But there is also a risk, a risk that has always existed for the writer: the writer is vulnerable to scrutiny and criticism. While the act of writing is a private exercise, sharing the work is a public affair.

A writer’s life requires a thick skin. While praise is nice and always welcomed, I remind myself writing is work. When I publish, I am extending an open invitation to the public. When a reader takes time to comment, it’s like they showed up to my party and thanked me when they left.

I write because I have something to say. I hope I say something worth responding to. I invite you to honestly share what you think. We don’t have to agree. I hope you’ll accept my invitation.


Sunday Scribblings' prompt this week is invitation. Click on the link to read more.

13 comments:

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Hi, I like the way you said this Susan, but what I really like is your profile in the side-bar, that's really cool the way you wrote that.

DJPare said...

You are full of crap! I totally disagree!
Just kidding. :)

Couldn't agree more.

susan said...

djpare,
Thanks for reading and commenting. I'll be by to see what you're full of. lol

B. Roan said...

At first I found it very difficult to post one of my stories. Even though they are fiction, these stories give others insight into the privacy of ones mind. I enjoy the anonymity of blogging. Well said!

Linda Jacobs said...

I never shared my poetry until I started blogging. It gave me the freedom to put myself out there. Like you, I welcome comments and they have helped me overcome my shyness.

Interesting post!

missalister said...

Well, alright! Amen, Sister! and all of that right-on language! Yes, we can create a virtual environment for discourse and build a bridge, which is glorious, and we do risk criticsm, that's a fact. And if we have a choice regarding criticsm, let it be consensual. Many times I’ve thought SS was just a love fest, but if it hadn’t been, if the SS community hadn’t bolstered me with every post, like Linda Jacobs, I might never have dared push on to write more and better as I gained confidence.

So, now that I’m ready and know you want the same thing, too, I accept your invitation to tell you honestly what I think about what you write and I extend the same invitation to you in relation to what I write. Do please tell me how my writing could be better. Only my ego will pout, but not for long ;-) Your marks for today: a zillion. For raising up and reiterating flat-out, the simple, glorious truth :-)

susan said...

missalister,
You are too funny. Critique is about identifying what is and what is not working and sharing why. You can't simply say something is wrong. If we take the time to honestly share why we like something and ask questions or express concerns when we don't get something, then we can begin to address how to improve our work.

While I extended an invitation, let me be explicit: a reader doesn't need permission. A writer can't dictate how our reader responds. At best, we ignore or delete unwanted comments.

Negativity can sting, but like all stings, the pain is temporary. My experience is that we are here to support so if you get daisies instead of roses, don't toss the bouquet.

anthonynorth said...

A good commentary on the writers' lot here. Yes, a thick skin is essential. Also we writers have a certain amount of ego, or we wouldn't do it.
But we're also very private, and crossing that bridge to the public CAN be quite scary.

texasblu said...

lol - I hadn't read this post yet - I had remembered last week you saying something about comments and thought that was what you were referring to.

It is frustrating sometimes to see the blog counter creep up but no comments being made. I'm left wondering if people are offended, if they liked it, etc... My husband hates it when I go into that zone - he's says I'm going to drive myself prematurely nuts. I say :P. He just doesn't get it.

On another note, I find it hardest to share my creative work. The other stuff is quite easy for me, but I do spend quite a lot of time editing and working on creative pieces - prose and poetry alike - so when someone hates it, it feels like having a child rejected.

lol - I started this comment 3 hours ago...

TD said...

Yes, this invitation to others for their unmitigated critique scares the bejesus out of me. But not writing scares me even more...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm sure I'll be back to yours.

judysteapot said...

Hiya Susan

I envy your use of words and the capacity you have to dialogue via blogging on subjects that inspire, challenge and annoy you. Well done.

Thank you, too, for visiting my site. with muich love, Judyx

susan said...

Thanks all for coming by, reading and commenting. Blogging has advantages and disadvantages. The ability to engage in an extended conversation is challenging in this format. I have a long history with message boards and there, there was a greater sense of community and the format was conducive to extended diaglogue.

My experience with blogs is that many writers here are new to Internet communities in general and not all users are net savvy so that the idea of communicating back and both is a new experience. And then there is the matter of using the various features of a blog particularly if you're a tech novice. I'm new to blogs and am only now fully learning how to use feeds.

Anyhoo, let's keep chatting. I appreciate the connection.

mgirl said...

I am very new to blogging and it has been scary to me as well. I can relate to what texasblu said, can be difficult. But I have to remember that I am also writing for myself. Thank you for a very thought provoking post.