Wielding the unwelcome power to wound

Empathy is the ability to understand what someone else is feeling — to take a few steps in their shoes. I have a lot of empathy for writers lately.

As I enter Day 6 in the WordPress Post-a-Day Challenge, I am plagued by a gnawing anxiety. It goes way beyond “What should I write about today?” It speaks more to “Who the heck do you think you are? What makes your words so important? Why should anyone care?”

In the verdant field of joyful creativity, such doubts are land mines.

If doubt is a writer’s worst enemy, editors certainly come next. I should know; I play both roles. I despise the power I have as “the decider” when it comes to the dozens of queries and freelance submissions I receive each week. I abhore the license it gives me to bruise egos, albeit unintentionally.

I tend to respond quickly to queries that are fresh and exciting, relevant to our mission and described in full sentences with proper spelling and grammar. Dispatching the others is excruciating. I waffle and delay and wring my hands about how to respond. Sometimes, when I can’t think of anything encouraging to say, or when I am simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of queries, I don’t respond at all.

There is no easy way to let someone down. And no easy way to be the person who does it.

Tomorrow: The definition of a terrible story pitch.

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One response to “Wielding the unwelcome power to wound

  1. Nice Post

    Oh my. A ” these heels are killin’ me and you send me this pablum” post. Which I think would be a fine response, by the way.

    Having decided early on that my hard drinking amateur writing status would quickly turn Professional Drinking if even a whiff of success in ‘letters” where to float my way, I summit nothing. A wise decision, as I love hotel bars. One book tour and the coroner and no second novel slump.

    But I do think it must be hard to dismiss, without comment, another’s effort. And this post provided understanding to that uncomfortable chore.

    Doug

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