The One Where I Talk about Richards...

11:16 AM Elizabeth Seckman 30 Comments


It's that time of the month again.

Woe, don't leave guys...I'm not talking about womanly things, I'm talking about  Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group!


I know the suspense is killing you, so, here's my wisdom for November: 

Many years ago, I worked as a resident advisor in a co-ed dorm. Boys and girls living together in a wonderful, peaceful harmony...well, for the most part.

There were times that could only be described as "one of those days" and the downhill slides usually started with one little man. 

I'll call him Richard. 

Richard was short in stature and even shorter on personality. He was irascible, insulting, and always ready to fight. If he was told his music was too loud, it was an argument. I was picking on him or I was just an ignorant witch.

Anyhow, long story short...Richard was a pain to deal with. Few people liked him, many avoided him. 

Me being the mealy-mouthed, peaceful little thing that I am, I always tried to get along...attempted to placate him and hoped that sooner or later he'd have an attitude epiphany and stop being a royal pain in my booty.

But then it happened...in the midst of finals week, I suffered one of the most horrible bouts of flu I ever had. I took a good dose of Nyquil and put my achy body to bed. At 1:00 A.M., my restful, restorative slumber was cut short by noise. Shouts and thumps seeped into my groggy brain. As much as I wanted to simply put a pillow over my head and pretend all was fine in the dormitory world, I had a job to do. So, I put on my bunny slippers and my robe and headed toward the fray. 

For the most part, the hallway cleared out on sight. But, of course, Richard stayed behind. 

In our dorm, we had a door...the birth control door...and it was supposed to separate the boys to the west and the girls to the east after 11:00 P.M.

Richard lingered on the chick's side of the door, volleyed my shooing with some colorful verbal abuse, and forced me to use the threat of security to get his loud mouth back to his room. 

He finally did go to his own side and from there, like a spoiled toddler, he kicked the door and called me everything but the white woman I was. 

Then it happened. To this day, I blame the Nyquil...but honestly, there was this part of me that had enough. I was fed up with this whiny, aggravating twerp, so in an eye-opening fit, I had to give him some honest advice...

Stop being a pain in the ass! People aren't picking on you. They just don't like you. And that's your own fault. You don't even try to be likable. Word of advice? If you have a problem with everyone you meet? The problem is yours, not their's. Stop being such a little man...it's not the world's fault that you have a tiny penis. Quit taking your insecurities out on us. Grow up and grow a pair.  

What does that have to do with writing? 

Don't let insecurity disguised as arrogance block good advice. Listen to criticism without making it a personal affront. Feedback is golden. Learn from it.

*Now this doesn't apply to any of my bloggy friends, but I'm sure you know someone who eschews the web, scoffs at writer camaraderie, and refuses to listen to a word of advice...don't wait for a Nyquil stupor to vent...just tell it to them straight....being a Richard ain't cool. 

30 comments:

  1. LOL- This was great Elizabeth. I've known my share of "Richards" in this life, and they are never fun. Glad you finally told him what's what.

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    1. It took me to the age of 30 to get over the guilt of being so mean. Direct confrontation doesn't come naturally to me!

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    1. You certainly don't need it, but you may run into a grumpy writer who might!

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  3. You always have me completely captivated with your stories, Liz! You're so awesome. I know plenty of Richard's unfortunately... but your advice is spot on. It's so important to lower our pride, stop, listen, and grow. It's the only way to progress!

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    1. Hey, you said that better than I did. I should cut and paste it! You're right, we have to lower the pride to learn. It is a progression and we can't get mad that we're not born perfect. We have to work toward it and even then accept that it will never happen because perfection is a lie.

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  4. Ah the Richards in our lives. I went back to my old school where I was teacher to see the kids. A couple of them asked if I remembered their name. "Why, Richard, yes... how could I forget your name?"

    But maybe a bit of Richard creeps into us all sometimes. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. I suppose we all have a little of it. I always figured the bigger the insecurities, the greater the need to protect the ego. And we all have an ego.

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  5. I do know someone like that!
    Listening to honest feedback leads to much wisdom. I appreciate all the feedback I've received from critique partners and readers.

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    1. I am so glad for mine! Nothing was more frustrating than knowing something was right, but not knowing how to fix it. Sharing with other writers has helped me immensely!

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  6. What a good story, thank you for sharing it!

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  7. You are so awesome. I want to be more like you. ;)

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    1. Start with a good dose of chocolate and you're on your way! (Though honestly, I think you're perfect just as you are!)

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  8. LOL! Once again - you NEVER disappoint! Oh what I would do to have seen the Nyquil attack! Sounds like he totally deserved it. And... of course, it leads in to such wonderful advice!

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    1. My girlfriends got a good laugh about it. I guess the flopping bunny ears on my slippers were quite the visual.
      Glad to see you Leigh!!!!!! (extra !'s just for you)

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  9. Well, you sure told him. I told a guy off once who was trying to pick a fight with my much larger boyfriend before we got married. And he still thinks he's my protector, LOL! Taking criticism can be hard, but I just do it and get on with rewriting whatever didn't work before. After all, I want to write something people want to buy.

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    1. You're so right! It doesn't matter whether or not I'm in love with my writing,the readers have to feel it.
      (Oh, and just let him keep thinking he's the protector, makes them feel manly!)

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  10. Great story. Did your 'advice' change him at all?

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    1. At first, no. The little pain started sticking pennies in my door so it would jam and I'd have to call security to set me free. But, he kept his nose clean in public, so I would smile and be nice to him and after a while he got bored and just stayed out of my way.

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  11. Oh gosh! I've known plenty of "Richards" in my life. Great advice to all those IWSG members out there. :)

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    1. I'm sure there isn't anyone in IWSG who's a Richard. I mean a Richard would never admit to being insecure about anything!!

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  12. Brilliant! Thanks for making me smile :-)

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  13. hate those Richards out there. Great post, though.
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Fortunately, I think they are the minority. They're just such horrible pains in the butt that it feels like they are everywhere!!

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  14. That Richard could make anyone explode. So glad you took care of business Liz.

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    1. Thanks chick! Bet you'd have taken care of him in week one. :)

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  15. What a great post! I certainly know a Richard or two! LOL. You're right though and not just arrogance but defensiveness--both can keep us from getting better.

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    1. Oh yes! Defensiveness shuts a brain down super fast. Got to keep the mind open.

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