The Raven’s Eye Chills Out


I don’t think our pal on the doghouse is looking for the Red Baron right now, do you?

Maybe he thinks if he hangs around long enough on that roof the Red Baron will eventually find him. Or he figures there’s a melt down in his future and it won’t matter  because a preordained resolution is on the way.

But is this the way to approach a writing life?

You meet them here and there. At the conferences. In the writing groups. Online. Writers who claim it doesn’t matter whether they ever get published so any feedback on their work won’t matter to them.   If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.

Say What?

At this point my hand will automatically begin to  rise, either to slap my forehead or, if that person is actually standing in front of me, his/her forehead. I don’t get it. Why pay the money or take up classroom space if you plan to snooze upright in your chair and wait for the Red Baron to drop the bomb of good fortune on your head?

There’s something chilling in those words. Something that smells like fear. And I don’t think I’m the only person who’s sniffing the air and thinking, Hey, that smells familiar!

It’s okay to not seek publication, but to show up at a conference or in a class and then use that as a shield against rejection or feedback? Well that’s just putting everyone else in the hot seat so that you can sit back and pretend to nap. If you want to go sleep on the roof, go ahead. But don’t expect anyone to spend the same amount of time and effort critiquing your work as they do for others who are facing down the bullets of doubt, humiliation, and criticism.

And please don’t go to the conference, manuscript in hand, and tell the other writers you’re there to obtain enlightenment, not a book contract. The writing life is tough enough without making others feel like a schmuck for thinking about fame and fortune. There are plenty of rolled newspapers around to deliver a good whack to an aspiring writer’s head without that extra boot to the posterior. Can you hear them?

Unoriginal story line. Whack!

Wrong for our magazine or publishing company.  Whack!  Whack!

Already did this topic last week, month, year.  Whack!  Whack!  Whack!

There’s a universal Whack party going on and all writers are invited to attend, regardless of age or experience. Even those of you who are lounging on the roof watching everyone else get hit. Come on down. Join the fun. I promise you won’t ever be alone. We can whack out together. After it’s over, we’ll hold a pity party and drink lemonade over a bonfire made from rejection notices. Get real. Confess that you’re here for the same reasons as everyone else and make friends with those of us sitting on the floor feverishly making last minute revisions to our submissions. It really isn’t that bad. Certainly no worse than snoozing when the Red Baron’s flies over your head with his  “You’ve been discovered!”  bomb ready to go.

And since we’re being friendly,  I might as well confess.   If you’re on the roof snoozing under your manuscript and I see that bomb coming,

I’m getting a bloody net.


6 Responses to “The Raven’s Eye Chills Out”
  1. Wow, love the picture of snoopy waiting on the red baron…Butler would be proud of you. Whack, Whack, Whack… enlightenment is a desired effect one gives in their creative writing, for the reader, disguised in a metaphoric way. If the wanna-be is there simply to enlighten their own drabness they are wasting the groups effort to share, discuss and focus on the objective. Good article. The blog is looking topnotch.


  2. Ortolan C. Chordeiles says:

    That’s right! Hey, if I had a choice I’d join the ranks of whack. That’s a really cool and aspiring club to belong to, correct? Maybe I could give out a few good, hard whacks…as long as I except the hand that feeds me.


    • ravenlaw says:

      Hi Ortolan,

      I’m afraid you have to accumulate at least 1000 whacks before you earn a license to pass them on to someone else. 🙂 In the meantime, I am available if you need additional verbal “whacks” to help you reach that total.

      Raven 🙂

  3. Carmen says:

    You have a flare for humor. I found the imagery particularly colorful. “Whack Whack Whack” I could almost feel the back of my head twinge. There are several types of blogs out there that people usually subscribe to: Factual ones (To help with research), Personal ones (To learn about someone else), Funny ones (That make you laugh)…. and so forth.

    Funny and Personal are entertaining. Most people, lets face it, are often more interested with themselves than other people, so it usually takes something special for them to subscribe and keep reading.

    You are very lucky that you have a style that wraps the reader up in both humor and imagery, that captivates them long enough to get to the end of the blog and wonder where the rest of it is.

    By and by, I liked Snoopy on the doghouse. I wouldn’t happen to have taken that picture now would I have? *wink wink*

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