K is for Kindness
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
It's easy to be hard on yourself as a writer. We read masterpieces or blockbusters and are entranced. We want to do it too. We think we should be able to do it.
We race to the computer and start to write...maybe. Or perhaps we clean the house first. Alphabetize the bookshelf. Organize some pencils. Surf the internet. Check email. Do some research. Find something to eat. Play with the dog. Take a short nap. Drink some coffee. Whoops, time to eat again. But there's nothing in the house to eat, because we were so busy "writing." Time to go to the supermarket.
Eventually, though, if we are lucky, we get something written down. And frequently, we look at what we have finally written, and feel despair. Why do we continue to produce junk? We don't read junk. No, we read books that delight and entertain.
So what the heck is up with the drivel that we write?
“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”For many of us, it is simply part of the process. And that is where kindness comes in. Kindness to yourself. Kindness to others. It's so easy to get frustrated. We all do it. What you have to remember is that the books you are reading did not sound like that in the first draft. Sure, there is the exceptional writer who dashes everything off publication ready. You might even have one in your writing group, which can be both inspirational and really irritating. But it is not the norm. Most great stories have been worked and reworked, even short stories.
If kindness to yourself is critical, kindness to others is even more important. Especially for new writers with fragile egos. If we don't support them when they are beginning, they may give up. For our words are part of us, our stories are our children. We have to learn how to let them grow up, become independent, and, eventually, "live" on their own. It gets easier with time, yet it is never "easy." Of course, it is true, one of the most important things we must learn as writers is how to accept criticism, but there is never a reason not to show kindness in the critiques that you give.
In fact, it should always be the first place that we start, with everything that we do.
Because kindness matters.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
― Lao Tzu
random acts of kindness-ideas
100 ways to be kinder
critiquing tips-kindness matters
“People shouldn't have to earn kindness. They should have to earn cruelty.”
-Maggie Stiefvater, Forever