In The Season Of Giving: Unwrap The Truth For Your Creative Loved Ones

Image - iStockphoto: Stacey Newman
Image – iStockphoto: Stacey Newman

A Token Of Your Esteem: Honesty

The greatest gift you can give to a creative friend or relative sometimes is a compassionate, thoughtful, patient negativeresponse.

Not negative in terms of how you say it or any intention of being hurtful. Exactly the opposite: negative in the sense of an authentic, truthful reaction in a world much too fond of happy talk and glib compliments.

Let me give you a few details of how this point has come up.

In this article, When ‘There Are No Words,’ I Can’t Even, I wrote about my concern that our natural tendency to adopt and communicate in our culture’s “pop-speak,” as I’ve started calling it, could eventually lead professional writers to lose touch with some of the language’s greatest depth and potential.

As a point of clarification: Slang has been and always will be with us, yes. And in many cases, slang, contemporary expression is precisely what a writer wants to use. What was under discussion in this case was the fact that professional writers under the same bombardment as everyone else of media-driven yak —yada-yada-yada — may be prone to do less with language than might have been the case in less “noisy” times.

On a fast tweet, OMG may work beautifully, but it shortchanges a reader when it comes time to engage in literature — of any genre, by the way, not just literary work.

2014-12-24_8-07-40The story is at Writer Unboxed (WU), a highly regarded and well-trafficked site with which I’m a regular contributor. While I think WU has material that’s helpful for authors at any stage of development, the site probably is most useful to authors who are either moving work through our content-glutted market already or about to — both traditionally and self-published.

Writer Unboxed is largely craft-oriented, but in the wider sense: you read observations not only about writing but also about the developing craft of author-marketing, business resources, and a good bit about what I’d call the “Who Are We?” questions — as in who are writers today? What do writers of books, authors, mean in a culture gone screen-happy?

My role at Writer Unboxed is to provide a monthly piece that gets at one or more of the difficult-to-discuss issues that writers and the publishing industry are facing today, particularly those that can be controversial. “Provocations in Publishing,” we call this series because it tends to involve the kind of topics that could provoke reactions from a doorknob. “Hot-button issues,” as the cliché-mongers love to say.

One reason to take these dicey issues head-on as we do in these columns — and in the commentary that the Writer Unboxed community is rightly well-known for — is that strong feelings can make it hard to get a clear reading of what’s in front of us. The publishing industry as a whole, and the authors working in and around it, have been through a wrenching several years of digital disruption. In nearly every sector of the business, you can find moments when someone held out for a tradition being trampled by technology’s tools, times when resistance looked preferable to change. Drama, even melodrama, has been the mode for a long time. Everybody’s tired.

Read More

There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

Writing on the Ether: In The Season of Giving: Unwrap The Truth For Your Creative Loved Ones 

Originally published by Thought Catalog at



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