“The pen is mightier than the sword,” said Edward Bulwer Lytton.
Indeed it is. For the pen can cause great emotional maiming, while the sword only yields temporary, physical impairment.
For me, I’ve always felt extremely vulnerable whenever anybody read my essay. Whether it would be a piece of descriptive, analytic, narrative, or even historical writing, I feel victimized by my readers.
Yes, I understand that I need an audience and I need readers for my essay. But my readers obtain a special ability more than anyone else. My readers judge my work. They delve and pick at my thoughts.
With a blaring red pen, my readers slash through my essay and wounds are gashed on my heart.
Whenever you allow your work to be read and assessed, you’re opening up your soul for the world to devour.
Everyone knows that the world isn’t exactly the most subtle and considerate critic.
“There’s no purpose to this paragraph.”
“What are you even saying here?’
And as the writer, you must sit and accept the lashes and criticisms from your readers about your work.
And how well do you take those opinions? It depends on the person you are.
I’m sensitive. I take in all words about my writing with a giant gulp and a wavering smile. I feel judged whenever people read my writing. Is it in their place to judge my feelings, my hopes, and my dreams? Is it in their place to interpret my thoughts and subject them into their own definitions?
Recently, I sat in on a writing conference and witnessed this word slashing and heart-pounding questioning of my work. Every sentence, scrutinized to the dot above the I, and the dash across the t’s. Those 30 minutes were perhaps the most nerve-wracking of my life. My reader showed no emotion, just a deadpan face, scanning my essay. One circle here, one question-mark there. Pretty soon, my paper was marked with all of these little notations. Every once and awhile, my reader paused, and read a specific portion of my essay aloud.
Boy have words ever sounded so meaningless and strange in my head.
The sentence had no structure, was redundant, and very passive.
Or at least, according to my reader.
In my mind, I believed the sentence made sense. 2 nights ago, while I was typing that particular essay, that sentence articulated in my mind and words flowed onto the page. On conception, it seemed like the perfect sentence for my essay.
But, it wasn’t.
It’s a strange sensation to hear your work read aloud. You start to realize your little grammar mistakes, your awkward phrases, the little cracks in your work that were hidden by your own pride and joy.
I thought my essay was amazing. But it needed work. Obviously, there is no such thing as a perfect draft in this world. And to improve, I had to have someone read it. I needed opinions from an audience.
To future audiences out there, please, please, please don’t heckle me, put me down, condescend me for my lack of structure. Please, please, please, don’t question the purpose of each paragraph. And please, please, please, don’t stop reading until you hit the end.
But please, assess my essay in your head. Appreciate it’s beauty, and evaluate its faults. Do it in your head and think for one second, how to phrase your criticism ever-so-kindly as to not damage my delicate ego.
It’s brutal, hearing someone examine your essay to the spine and listening to them enumerate its imperfections.
I’ve grown accustomed to hearing criticisms about my work all my life. And by work, I don’t just mean writing. I’m used to people judging my cupcakes, my photos, my piano playing.
And I’m fine with it.
But there’s something about writing that ticks my inner teenage-girl tear ducts every time. There’s something about the rawness of my writing. There’s something about the fact that my fears, my weaknesses, my feelings, and my psychological being are within my essay.
And to judge how I feel?
You’re just asking for a defensive, sassy, and rude rebuttal to your arguments about how my thoughts should be reorganized.