A writer I follow on Twitter recently made me self conscious. Scrolling through my feed I read this tweet: "wow. There's lots of terrible advice on writing blogs." I thought, "I hope that's not me!" and felt terror.
I calmed down. Personally, I trust that it takes a while to cultivate a successful blog and it's a challenge I'm enjoying. But there's a more general point that's easy to forget. Terrible advice is also awesome advice.
A large part of learning what you believe in is disagreeing with others' opinions. Every time I read a story and catch myself thinking, "holy hell! Think stinks!" (as first impulse, everyone thinks something like this), I remind myself of two things:
- there are always good things in even the weakest seeming work; my job as a responder is to frontload a story's strong points.
- other writers' missed opportunities are instructive.
Paulo Campos wrote his first novel in high school but didn't return to fiction until well into graduate school. He's since written three novels and a collection of short fiction. One of the novels and the collection seem good enough to shop for publication and are being revised. He was a recipient of Glimmer Train's "Best Start" competition in November 2009. His first published piece of short fiction will appear in the June 2010 issue of THEMA.
He lives in New York with his wife and two suspect cats.