November 4, 2009

Blog Share!

It’s Blog Share time again so YAY! I have something to put on my dusty ol’ blog. Only, I didn’t write it – someone else did, and I don’t even know who. Somewhere out there is a post that I wrote. Blog Share is the supergenius idea created by -R- and I look forward to it every time.

These posts are meant to be anonymous and some people really put themselves out there and don’t want to be discovered. If you stumble upon a Blog Share post and you think you know who wrote it, please let that person remain incognito and don’t reveal their identity.

I swear I didn’t write the post below, but I can sure relate to much of it. Please show my guest some love in the comments.


I’ve always been a decent writer. Back in junior high, my teacher would always read my stories out loud to the class because it was such a job well done, which you can imagine was AWESOME as a teenager.

In high school, this knowledge wavered. Depending on the class and teacher, I was either a good writer or a shitty writer. In college, we were required to take English 101 and 102 in our freshman year. My teacher in the first semester, she was of the mind I was a horrible writer. My teacher second semester was the exact opposite. How do I know this? I turned in the same paper to both of them. (I can’t help it they had the same assignment.) The one teacher gave it a B-, the other an A+ and told me to submit it to a magazine.

It was about this time that I learned that I excel in writing when given the right feedback. It doesn’t always have to be over-the-top positive (although that doesn’t hurt), but it needs to be constructive. I need to feel like the errors or mistakes I’ve made can be learned from and improved upon.

Writing is a very subjective thing. What one person likes, someone else can hate. And those two people can love it and hate it for all the same reasons.

For my job, I do quite a bit of writing. Business-type writing is obviously a lot different than the writing we do on our blogs or in the emails we send to friends. But I have a good background in professional writing and I can hold my own. I’ve written press releases, brochures and newsletters at more than one job that I’ve had since college. I think I have quite a bit of experience under my belt.

In a job I had right out of college, I wrote a lot of feature articles for publications. My boss at the time wasn’t so good with the feedback. He’d make a few changes to my stories, but I never got the “that was a great piece” or “I really like the direction you took with that.” So after six years of this, I was convinced I was a bad writer. Not horrible, I was a great editor and proofreader, but I wasn’t a GOOD writer. I never got feedback to convince me otherwise.

Then I left that job. I moved into a more corporate atmosphere and did a lot more business writing – letters, proposals, newsletters, etc. At this job, my writing was praised. It was never perfect, but if someone needed something written, and wanted it done right, they asked me. It was like exactly what I was looking for at the other job. Just an acknowledgment that I was not a total idiot. An attaboy every now and then never hurts.

After that job, I started a blog. I had started reading a lot of blogs and with the positive feedback I was getting at work, I thought “hey, I could do this.” And I started to hone my writing. I started to enjoy writing. I started to BELIEVE that I was a good writer. I was maturing and growing and didn’t need the constant feedback and positive reinforcement.

And then I started at my current job.

My boss has never come out and said I’m a crappy writer. But with all the writing I do, none of it is ever right. And look, I know I’m human, and as I mentioned I KNOW that writing is subjective, so I don’t expect everyone to find my writing perfect. I expect that there will be errors, corrections, improvements. I expect that there will be edits and re-writes because someone else in the department might have a better way of saying something.

And yet, with that, my writing is always wrong. Not just wrong, but ALL CAPS WRONG. It’s not just a few edits or changes. Every single time it is constantly re-written. Every single time, very few things of my original document are left in the final piece.

At first, it wasn’t a big deal. At a new job, you have to learn the style and know what your boss and superiors like and what they don’t. But after months and months and months, my confidence was shot. There are always so many changes to everything I do that I have convinced myself that I’m a horrible writer. And that nothing I would do would ever be right. I can never win. And even worse, it makes my desire to work hard at something non-existent. Why put in all the effort when you know it’s going to be completely changed?

Writing is my thing. Through all the crap I’ve been through in the last few years, writing has gotten me through. My blog has been my therapy, my place to share and be amongst friends and be part of a community. It has been my ONE CONSTANT. My one resolute talent that I have had confidence in. And now, it’s wavering. My confidence is faltering.

I hate that my boss has this much power over me. I hate that I’m reverting back to the person I was 10 years ago who needed the constant feedback, the affirmation of a job well done. I hate that I’m letting my boss let me believe something that isn’t true. I hate that I’m giving this person that power, when it’s mostly their issue and not an issue they have with me or my writing.

But I’ll be sure to thank this boss in the acknowledgements of my first novel for making my desire to be a published author even stronger, if only to prove not everyone hates my writing.

9 people have roominated about “Blog Share!”

  • sarahgrace says:

    You know reading this, you begin to realize something (or I do) … that as humans we never outgrow the need to be praised. And I think that is okay. In fact, I think it’s not a good thing that we somehow let ourselves believe that we have outgrown the need to be praised.
    So to anonymous- I enjoyed reading your post. I think it was very well written indeed! I hope that you write a best-seller someday, and I hope you find people who appreciate what you write and let you know it!

    And to Catheroo! (Waves) Hi! I think this is my first time commenting on your blog!

  • Green says:

    I feel for you on this, but can I tell you something? I work for lawyers, and being able to write is hugely important in the legal world. Two partners who have outstanding education can trade one letter back and forth, each one revising the letter numerous times for days on end. Because I’m the person doing the revisions, I see all of this. You know what? It’s not that either of them are poor writers. It’s just that they like a different style of expressing the same information.

    Screw your boss, just keep writing.

  • Janiece says:

    You’re not a poor writer. But your boss may feel threatened by you, or be the kind of person who always thinks they can do better themselves, or, or, or or…

    In other words, it’s probably not about you at all.

  • courtney says:

    It sounds to me like your boss doesn’t necessarily think you’re a bad writer, it’s just that he/she is a control freak. It may be that in the boss’ eyes, nothing is right unless he/she did it personally. That’s my guess, because after reading this I think you’re a very good writer.

  • abbersnail says:

    I second every word that Courtney wrote. It sounds like your boss has a hard time delegating. Just keep writing your way, and realize that there will probably be another job in your life in which your writing is praised. Things go in cycles.

  • Megan says:

    I agree — it’s a control thing. It’s not about you at all. I have some experience with this myself. 🙂

  • Jacqueline says:

    Writing is an art. And everybody should realize that art is always beautiful no matter what. No matter what art it is-a newspaper article, a blog post, a novel, even a business proposal-I see writing as art. Art comes from the mind, and from the heart, and anything that comes from the heart and mind is creative and beautiful. I never insult somebody’s writing, because no matter how many grammatical errors, or incorrectly structured sentences, it came from their heart, from their head, and from their feelings. And who I am to claim that somebody’s feelings are bad?

    Your boss obviously doesn’t have the same opinion on this topic as I do, and personally, if this was my boss, I’d tell him to STFU. Then again though, I am only a teenager. And believe me, as a teenager, when your writing is praised, it is AWESOME.

  • Sra says:

    Writing is an art, not a science. There will always be something you can do to tweak your words, but you can’t expect to reach perfection. The most effective writing for work purposes is clear, simple, and concise. For creative purposes, you have more leeway. Maybe you are crossing that line too much, or maybe your boss is a d-bag, or maybe you are being overly sensitive about the feedback. I would try not to take it personally, and just write.

  • Sarah says:

    I couldn’t stop reading this, which I hope tells you something. It flowed beautifully and I had to know where it was leading.
    I’m with the others: I have a feeling that your boss would “tweak” your work no matter what you submitted, seeing that as his job to have the final input.
    Keep loving your blog and I hope there will be a book or two in your future.

roominate on this yourself