Over the last few months I have been doing a lot of work on my writing. I have been talking with mentors and getting my words critiqued. And boy oh boy has it been … interesting.
The feedback from these people has been pretty universal.
“There’s nothing wrong with your writing Kelly. You form sentences nicely. You tell stories nicely. You wrap things up nicely. It’s all very … nice.
But it’s also all very safe.”
And when I think about it, there is a very good reason for this safeness. I am nothing if not the classic (Myers-Briggs personality type) INFJ:
“INFJs have a particularly low tolerance for conflict. They work to avoid unnecessary tension or confrontation, and are more likely than most types to take criticism personally. INFJs tend to spend a great deal of time preparing for and then reflecting on any negative interactions.”
Oh yes. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I will run a marathon to avoid conflict and confrontation. And I can reflect on negative interactions for days. Ok, weeks. And for the most part I can negotiate life pretty well despite all this (ie I know how to manage it!)
But as writer, it is very limiting. These words from a wise writer friend sums things up nicely:
“Writing has to be fearless. It HAS to. If it’s not fearless then it is bland and boring and won’t resonate with anyone. Better to resonate strongly with some than fall flat with everyone.”
Aargh – but I don’t do fearless! I am not fearless.
And my brain also says to me if you take the less safe route, if you are fearless, then you’re not really being ‘true to yourself’ are you?
Thankfully I have lovely advisers on hand to assure me this is bollocks.
Because regardless of how conflict averse my personality type is, strong views do occupy my head and there are a lot of things I am quite passionate about. I shouldn’t hold back on sharing my passionate views just because I don’t want to offend anyone. Mainly because people can (and will) choose to be offended by even the most vanilla things. Here’s my wise writer friend to the rescue again:
“There is not a single piece of writing in the world that everyone will like. There is not a single opinion in the world everyone will agree with. And that’s okay.”
So today at iVillage I have written a post that falls into that ‘brave’ category. And truth be told it kind of annoys me that this post should even be seen as ‘brave’. Why should it be brave to call society out on the fact that once a woman becomes a mother her thoughts and actions are judged by a single measure: ‘what about the kids’.
Going forward I shall have a lot more to say on that particular topic! Stay tuned
Are you one of those brave, opinionated people I love and wish I could be more like? Or are you an Olympic level fence sitter like me?