‘Your stories are amazing,’ Jacob texts me one afternoon. ‘There’s no way it can get better. I tried to find a way and I couldn’t.’ Liar. ‘Send some more stories my way!’
I bite the inside of my bottom lip, trying not to show too much emotion. Even if he’s not in the room to see, I don’t want even the vibes of my irritation to come off. Because I shouldn’t get upset over some praise, right? Being praised should be a good thing.
But, right now, it’s not great anymore. The praise comes off like a script. I could write the worse novel ever and he’d never notice. I found a few grammar mistakes after I sent the story to him, but he doesn’t notice them at all. He’s too fascinated by me. I know he means well, but I hesitate every time.
I guess this is another reason why friends shouldn’t edit my work. Their words sound false; they say everything I want to hear. But that’s not what I need to hear, so I resent it.
As writers, we need a mixture between praise and criticism to grow. People shouldn’t tell us that we’re amazing all the time. We also don’t need to get ripped apart like we’re nothing. I prefer a healthy middle – a gray area.
But that’s almost unrealistic. If I can find someone who gives me that gray area, I found someone worth keeping.