Skip to main content

Pocket of Joy: Laughing Off Bogus Critics

Beware the false devils of other people's anxieties, insecurities, and petty jealousies that they try to project onto you. If you hear negative messages about yourself repeatedly, especially from people who are very significant to you, like your parents or closest friends, they can worm their way under your eardrums and hijack your own inner voice with their damaging scripts. Once internalized, they can sound like fundamental truth, but they lie as shamelessly as the false angels of your ego do.

Don't listen to those who fear your competition because they feel threatened by your talent, your passion, or your persistence.

Don't listen to those who would betray you just to keep you down in the crab bucket that they themselves are too afraid to escape.

Don't laugh with people who are laughing at you in a mean way. It's healthy for your friends and mentors to keep you humble with constructive criticism, friendly ribbing, and gentle teasing. It's good to maintain your senses of humor and humility about yourself. It's not healthy to let yourself be humiliated by frenemies who aren't really on your team. Don't let anyone convince you to give up on your dreams.

Flip that script and laugh off the haters instead! Don't take yourself too seriously, but don't take ridiculous critics from the peanut gallery seriously at all. Really stop and listen to them--not to what they say about you but what their words say about them. And then giggle it off and get on with your work.

Back in my beginner mind days of learning how to write a novel, I didn't just have fun at my own expense with Brian Griffin jokes, I had a lot of fun with the amateur critics, wet blankets, and wannabe leaders of moral panic brigades that buzzed around the NaNoWriMo communities back in those days, with a post entitled...

Terror Alert NaNoWriMOrange!

NaNoWriMo: Harmless, fun writing exercise... or Socialist plot to destroy America?!?

There are some terrifying rumors circulating the blogosphere, so fellow WriMos, be warned! It is said that the process of encouraging mere amateur humans to free write a large number of words in one month will DEVALUE the AMERICAN NOVEL, BURY EDITORS ALIVE in PILES OF SLUSH submitted by WriMos who mistakenly thought that NaNoWriMo was about getting published in one month, and DESTROY AMERICA.

Furthermore, anyone writing zombie stories should take caution lest bad writing WAKE AUTHORS OF CLASSIC LITERATURE FROM THE GRAVE and cause a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE immediately following NaNoWriMo.

One author asks why people think they can have a noveling month when there isn't a violin playing month or an oil painting month. Because that would be absurd. WHAT IF THERE WERE MONTHS FOR MUSIC AND VISUAL ARTS?!? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Another anti-NaNo blogger writes that "the democratization of art is the worst thing that has happened to America in the past twenty years."

I mean, we're talking, worse than terrorist attacks and wars and H1N1 and EVERYTHING.

I don't know about you, but I'm scared as hell. I don't want people's brains to be eaten by the zombie remains of Nathaniel Hawthorne. DO YOU? And I SURE don't want America's sensibilities destroyed by amateur writing. If lots of people write on their own time, privately, on their own computers, pounding away like primitive apes at their keyboards, it will cause a DEVALUING of the QUALITY of the American novel in the minds of consumers and in editors' assistants' inboxes. I don't know about you, but I always appreciate an art form FAR LESS when I learn about it and attempt it myself. If writing is something we can DO OURSELVES, how will we EVER WANT TO READ GOOD BOOKS AGAIN? Can you IMAGINE a world in which BAD NOVELS became BESTSELLERS?

Oh NO. One blogger even points out the horrific reality that some mothers are encouraging their CHILDREN to write stories alongside them during NaNoWriMo. "What's next?" one blogger asks. "FETUSES writing novels?" OH, THE HUMANITY!

Be careful, WriMo friends. America is at stake.

By the way, I am at 14,500 words. That's 14,500 words closer to the annihilation of writing elitism. And I've got my zombie bat ready.

Jean Michelle Miernik is the author of Leirah and the Wild Man: A Tale of Obsession and Survival at the Edges of the Byzantine World, available through your local bookstore on October 23, 2021 and in ebook formats on November 11, 2021.


  1. Thanks, Aimee! :) It is heartening to note, however, that it seems most editors, agents, and publishers are not NaNo haters. They just want to find good manuscripts, no matter who wrote them or what methods they used.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with writing for fun, whether or not publication is an end goal. Human beings have always been storytellers and creative animals. Anyone who wants to rain on other people's creative hobbies is a literary Scrooge.

  2. It's interesting that people are worried about the outcomes of fledgling writers. If anything people should be praised for their efforts, not asked to give up their hobbies. Please, for me it's a simple question, " Do you want to write a novel before you die?" If the zombie apocalypse happens before the end of this month, count me out. If it doesn't the bloggers get to type and pretend that someone important is reading.

  3. Miss Moppet found one blogger who said she hated NaNoWriMo because some of her favorite bloggers stopped writing posts and worked on novels instead for the whole month. Hahaha! What is this world coming to, when our favorite writers stop blogging and start writing novels?

    Some of these fears and reasons for hating seem a bit silly. But the zombie apocalypse is no joke. Please, Adum, try to make sure your story comes out good, because I don't want the decaying corpse of Jane Austen coming to eat my face.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be: You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")    35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't

$Monday: Bog Witch Style on a Budget

Autumn in a pandemic is the perfect time to tap into your inner bog witch with wild hair, cozy clothes, forest rituals, creepy cats, fire, books of spells, and Dark Cottagecore home decor mood boards on Pinterest . You don't have to live in a literal swamp. The word "bog" comes from a Gaelic term for "soft," and it sounds nearly identical to Slavic words for gods or divinity with Proto-Slavic roots that refer to earthly fortune. Bog witches burrow into the true goodness of life nestled beneath all the hustle and polish and show of making a living. They focus on soft wealth and spiritual power. The vibe is slow, earthy, comfy, moody, sneakily seductive, maybe sticky, wise rather than smart, preferring old things to new, charming rather than impressive. It's about harmonizing with the natural environment, blending, melting, enveloping, and sinking into earthy, downward energy. Bog witchery vibes with hygge, friluftsliv , and the indigenous earth wisdom of whe

TFW You Reach the Age of a Season 1 Desperate Housewife

No matter how secure we are, we all experience moments of dread. -Mary Alice, the dead narrator of Desperate Housewives Friends, I have reached an age when I can't recognize which other people are my age, including this shifty broad in the mirror. She hasn't grown out of her teenage acne yet, and her elbows have been that wrinkly since she was 12. She has a new streak of white hair, but what trendy Gen Zer doesn't? Then again, observe the old-timey side part.  She thought this mirror might make her look like a cute pinup girl from another century, but instead she's seeing a reflection of Grandma. But doesn't Grandma look great for her age? Didn't she always? What does that mean, exactly? Anyway, she thought it would be fun to watch Desperate Housewives while folding laundry the other day, because she has never seen it before, having had no interest in the show when it was on the air, not even ironically, because she was in college when that show premiered. (She

Who Defines Success for You?

Singer-songwriter Lea Morris takes a walk with her personal concept of success in this insightful video. She contrasts the American dream of wealth, fame, and power with the idea of personal fulfillment, which can vary widely. I resonate with her personal definition of success as the ability to create and experience joy in everyday life, and I was inspired to reflect upon not only what my definition of success is but who has attempted to define success for me throughout my life and why . It's easy to recognize that "society" influences us to define success in terms of metrics on money, attention, and influence. But who actually does the dirty work of drilling those beliefs and values into our minds? Why is it so difficult for some of us to feel that we have the right to define success differently for ourselves? What significant people in our lives recorded the voices in our heads that tell us things that sometimes conflict with the quieter truths in our souls? Were we e

Pocket of Joy: Starting a Shiny New Project

Oh, the buoyant thrill of a sparkly new idea! Ooh, the giddy joy of starting in on it--like planting the first footprint on a blanket of new-fallen snow, or drawing the first line on a clean sheet of paper, or sweeping the first brushstroke of slick, wet paint across a wall! Of course, it takes follow-through to manifest a dream through the sweaty, dirty, messy middle of any big project. But when you know you can do it, you can hold onto that shiny new feeling to sustain you all the way to the finish. Here I am chiseling away at the remains of my old kitchen back in the spring, when my new kitchen lived only in my imagination. My husband and I have been working on our kitchen (with my parents' help early on) for four months now. Our summer has been a marathon of hard, sweaty, dirty work littered with setbacks, frustrations, and frequent changes of plans--including the decision to redo our main bathroom at the same time, while we're at it! Anyone who has repaired or remodeled a

Mental Health Monday: Making the Best of Depression and Dissociation

Along with most human beings, I experienced some trauma in my childhood, and I can make an educated guess that I've also inherited some genetic risk factors for mental illness; my family includes four or more consecutive generations of women who have been institutionalized for mental health reasons. I also received many opportunities to build resilience as a child; my parents provided me with more love and stability than they had experienced growing up, and they challenged me in positive ways that helped me develop traits of self-mastery and grit that protected me from sliding into addictions and disordered behavior patterns. I practiced acceptance and perseverance to get through episodes of depression, anxiety, and dissociation and to find myself in a better, not worse, situation after each one passed.  When I wrote my novel  Leirah and the Wild Man , I made use of my memories of dissociation and my ways of coping with it and applied them to my grim little title character. I thoug

Pocket of Joy: Generating $1K in 1 Month for Bookstores Just by Writing a Story

What a magical Christmas surprise! Last week, I started to feel pretty depressed after hearing anecdotally and seeing in the media that many people who identify as book lovers have suddenly and catastrophically lost their ability to actually read novels. (Yes, I realize that this is a whimsical thing to be depressed about when there is so much suffering in the world right now, but I'm sad about everything else, and yet I still can't help feeling sad about literacy too. Skip this first paragraph if you can't stand the sound of a tiny violin today--My attitude has already been readjusted.) The story goes that this decline in literacy started at the end of the 20th century with the expansion of internet culture, which wasn't just another distraction but changed people's brains on a neurological level. Then the pandemic's mental fog and toxic stress accelerated the loss of literacy. The story implied that I was a functionally extinct sort of dinosaur for having take

A Beauty, a Beast, a Slayer, and a Priest

I did it again! After the immediate "success" of my first semi-secret pandemic book release (defined as recouping the cost of file uploads to IngramSpark), I have set up another book in both hardcover and ebook formats! I'll promote my books later, if I feel like it, after the idea of holding author events becomes less perilous. For now, it's fun to hit a few buttons to make my books available to my blog readers and local book shops without investing money or time into marketing.  I released my first book, Leirah and the Wild Man , a few months ago and only told my own friends and blog readers about it--but word got out, and several local booksellers contacted me about it. Some took it upon themselves to order copies, display them prominently, and sell them to walk-in customers. And voila, within a month my hardcovers had generated $1,000 for paper-and-ink booksellers, mostly local indie shops! So satisfying. I still have no idea how many ebooks I've sold, because

Pocket of Joy: Queer Eye Season 6

My final post in the 2021 "Pocket of Joy" series, which was inspired by the one and only JVN and his commitment to embracing joyful little moments no matter what else is going on, is all about the premiere of Queer Eye Season 6 on New Year's Eve--tomorrow!! I never get tired of watching these guys swoop in and fairy dust a random person who has become stuck in the mud--one at a time, over and over, like the title character of "The Star Thrower" does, enjoying the singular salvation of each and every one. It reminds me that in every human life there is suffering and difficulty and unfair disadvantage, but there is also a limitless sea of opportunity in which to play. Getting washed up doesn't mean we're done as long as we can accept a little help diving back in there. This show is a fun reminder for everyone who has survived the past couple of years that when we're at our worst, there are so many ways in which things can get better. May we all keep o

Pocket of Joy: Two-Month Belly Dance Challenges (with results from my 20s vs. my 30s)

This summer, I'm beating the bloat and feeling better about my belly! I participated in two 30-day belly dance challenges online, first Jasirah's Belly Challenge and then a summer challenge by Mahtab of Best Belly Dance Workout . I chose these two because of the kind of challenges they were--not strenuous and sweaty but instead technically difficult. I am at a healthy weight that I want to maintain, and I am recovering from moderate to severe anemia, so I wanted to avoid anything exhausting or high-impact. This summer, I worked on balance, joint flexibility, and the kinds of technical skills that work out the brain and nervous system, and I targeted the "corset" muscles that cinch in the waist, deep beneath the outer ab muscles. I've said thanks and goodbye to the visible abs I had in my slimmer 20s, which are now obscured by an age-appropriate skim of subcutaneous belly fat that I don't want to starve myself or go under the knife to banish.  And besides, af