‘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 with me to see, I don’t want even the vibes of my irritation to come off. Because I shouldn’t be upset over some praise, right? Being praised is supposed to be a good thing.
But, right now, it’s not a great thing anymore. The praise almost comes off as 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 your work. Their words can sound false as 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 feel comfortable and grow. We don’t need to be told every second of the day that we’re amazing. We also don’t need to be ripped apart like we’re nothing. A healthy middle – a gray area – is preferred.
But that’s almost unrealistic. If you can magically find someone who gives you that gray area, you found someone worth keeping.
Perhaps one day, he’ll critique me more. But who knows?