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August 22, 2018

Folks, as a writer and mentor, my “job” is always to encourage people, and to foster the writer in every one of you.

I hear plenty of negativity, mainly from the writer’s themselves. Stuff like “this is hard,” or “I can’t do this,” or the ever-popular “I just don’t get it.”

That’s fine, and it goes with the territory. Giving words of encouragement and showing how those statements are not true is what I do. Well…except this can be harder for some than others.

Then there are the perpetual whiners, but they’re going to whine about anything they do. There’s not much you can do about that except suck it up and keep encouraging them anyway. At least, that’s what I do. Maybe it’s because I have more patience than the average person.

However, when I’m amongst other writers, in a group that’s made for the sole purpose of encouraging other writers, and someone tells another writer, “You’re no writer…”

Folks…that pisses me off.

A writer’s group is a place to foster writers. It’s a place to encourage them to write, not to shuffle them off and basically tell them to give it up and find something else to do!


If this was explained to me correctly, a friend of mine who I meet regularly at my writer’s group, had asked someone to look at his work. This someone had critiqued it and told him “You’re just not a writer.”

I’ve talked before about negativity. Believe me, I’ve received some doozies from agents and publishers over the years, and even in the writer’s group form hell. Yet, in a good writer’s group, which is supposed to foster and encourage other writers, to hear crap like this is counterproductive.

Given, I wasn’t there, and didn’t get the context, this friend certainly took it, or heard it the wrong way.

When he told me that and described the way it was said, I got the distinct impression it was a huge blow. That’s not what this is all about. Then again, this had happened several months ago, yet he was still there after a long absence. In that regard, I guess whatever negativity came out of that incident didn’t work.


I’m only a fan of tough love if it’s tactful. If that was this person’s intent, it didn’t come off that way. I could tell that my friend was discouraged, but at least he wanted to get other opinions. He’s held on to that spark, and not given up yet.

Words have power, and that’s not a trivial saying or something new.

When you choose tough love, you have to be careful how you use it.

Blunt and to the point is one thing, cutting someone off with absolutes is entirely different. Telling them they need more work is fine, but telling them they’ll never be is something final and terminal. Considering from who it came from, who I won’t name, it has some weight. No excuse.


When people look up to you, or ask for advice, there are plenty of ways to do it and let them find out on their own, whether they’ve got it or not. I know this person and he or she likes to write. To be told they’re not a writer is just plain wrong. That’s not tough love, that’s almost a crime.

Be careful with your words.

Happy writing!

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