Have you ever let someone read your work and asked them for feedback and just be mesmerized by what they said? More specifically have you ever listened to their suggestions and just thought “that changes the whole meaning and purpose of the story, why would I do that”?
Those situations are among some of the ones you have to be most cautious about when writing. Your work is going to have to be something you make your own, no matter how different that makes it from someone else’s and no matter how many people you encounter who may not exactly prefer your style. There are over 7 billion people on this planet and there is certain to be at least one other person in the world who will love your work for what it is. That is your audience. That’s not to say that that is necessarily the person you are writing for, by any means. You are always writing first and foremost for yourself. The work you do is yours to do. The idea came to you, after all, didn’t it?
That is one of my biggest purposes with this post; to remind you all that your work is yours. I can never emphasize that enough. So many times young authors meet resistance or differences of opinion regarding their work and they just give up their ideas to conform to those of others. Originality is one of the most important things to strive for when it comes to the craft of writing. It has been said by many that there are no new stories, just new ways to tell them, and to an extent that may be true. But it is our job, or if you prefer, our blessing, to give every story a new twist and make it our own.
No one else can write our work for us. That is why the ideas came to us. They are our own, and it is our duty to write them and spread them to the world. That is why it is so important for us to not allow ourselves or our ideas to be compromised by the thoughts and opinions of others. They can’t write our work for us, if they could the ideas would have come to them and not us. Granted that is not to say that we should just ignore and blow off all criticism and feedback. We can’t do that either. The key is to find the proper median, and this time, that line is a bit more prominent than others. The limits are similar for every writer in this respect, if they hope to remain unique and individual and not just generic and over-used.
The line is really quite rock solid, but as usual is never as simply cut-and-dry as some may prefer. We must listen to our feedback, look at what we know about our work, and examine the work using the knowledge of our intentions and the thoughts of others. After this we must use our conclusions to either keep, tweak or change our work while keeping both our own wishes in mind and the opinions of our audience, but no matter what we absolutely can not change the real essence of our work. If we compromise our work by making it what someone else wants and losing what we want then we have wasted our gift and really compromised the sanctity of the craft itself. I will write more on this subject and a lot about maintaining the sanctity of literature with my next post. I hope this has been helpful.