the first is you can pretend that the whole world is going to pay attention to what you are saying
and they will change their minds when they read your incredible insights
and rainbows will appear and bunnies and butterflies and fireworks and the cubs will win the world series
that is not how i write.
the other way is to pretend that nobody will ever read it and there is no audience and it’s just you
and the Good Lord above and all of the angels and saints
and they’re probably too busy to look closely, they are just happy youre not out in the streets.
occasionally someone reads it and i am genuinely surprised because i have tricked myself into believing that not even the sweet angels who root me on will read it
and sometimes someone will ask me, why are you being so mean with your writing
and i will literally have to read it again because when i write i just let it out and commit zero of it to memory.
but then i will reread the masterpiece in question and i will usually surmise “you call that mean?”
heres what i think mean is. i think its mean to bore your readers.
i had a teacher in college once, and he was legendary in our school, which doesnt mean he liked me, im pretty sure he thought i was overrated and to be honest i dont remember ever writing anything great in his classes
but i did like one thing he said. he said the worst thing you can do to your readers is waste their time.
do not bore them.
thus, if i criticize a writer for doing the worst thing a scribe can do, that is not mean.
whats mean is not passing along the sentiment and working with that writer, despite how veteran he may be
despite how many stupid awards he has “won” and despite what emails come in or dont come in.
whats mean is letting someone who you know or work with or are close to slide into mediocrity.
we are all in this together.
some of us more than others.
dig deep and get it together.