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

Happy Daylight Spending Time!

Happy Daylight Spending Time! It's finally our chance to enjoy the quality of life offered by Real Time. Now we can sleep until almost dawn, commute to work and school in the actual morning instead of during the night, savor the golden hour of the evening with active quality time outdoors without pushing into what should be winding-down time, and then relax into the beauty of a backyard bonfire or a candlelit dinner or a holiday light viewing stroll before the hour required of most human beings to go to bed in order to receive a healthy amount of sleep. Ah, what a relief from the unsustainable grind of Daylight Saving Time! It is fashionable to hate on the end of Daylight Saving Time, but I will not be fooled into participating in that griping. I believe that most of the whiners are conflating the onset of Standard Time with the time of year when the overall amount of actual daylight decreases naturally in the northern realms of the Earth, which is a fact of life outside the contr

Have a Vaxxed, Relaxed Holiday Season!

You deserve it. You've survived almost two years of a global pandemic and done everything in your power to take good care of yourself and your family and your larger community, all during a surge in stress, meanness, white supremacist violence, basic Karen-ing, economic hardship, unnecessary bad vibes, and rants about the government infecting people with magic octopi. Good onya, champion! You made it this far! Last year's holiday season was sketchy and filled with family drama (or isolation from family), but this year's doesn't have to be. This year, everyone ages 12 and up (without medical conditions that preclude them from gaining immunity via a vaccine) has had a chance to get fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. And everyone ages 5 and up (without those medical exceptions) has a chance to get fully vaccinated by Christmas. Pregnant and breastfeeding parents who get vaccinated can even confer immunity to their little ones in the womb or via breastmilk. How

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

Shots All Around!

My daughter got her first Covid vaccine shot over the weekend! Lots of her friends have also received theirs or have appointments coming up soon, and most of her older relatives have been boosted. We are all so happy and relieved that we can look forward to celebrating winter holidays and birthdays indoors with friends and family this year. We've waited so long for this! And it was free! And, according to her, it didn't even hurt! She felt a little bit of soreness at the injection site for a little while, and she was very sleepy all weekend, which I understand is a good sign that her immune system is working hard to gear up in response to the vaccine. We are very pleased, and our extended family is feeling major relief and hope for a more relaxed, pleasant winter. Michigan is having a particularly rough go with the Covid at this moment in time, with outbreaks driven by Michigan's preteens and teens, and in these dire circumstances, it is so good to have a real reason to hop

Pocket of Joy: Wearing Purple

Being human is crazy, full stop. It's a blessing to be able to transcend the drama, rise above trends, and get to a place where you can just start wearing purple. My daughter is a pretty normal kid who had a pretty normal childhood up until the pandemic, compared to how her parents grew up. We are beyond proud and happy that her first decade of life has contained far less drama and trauma than either of ours did. And yet, there is no escaping the broad insanity that is human life, for everyone, everywhere, in every generation. Fortunately, our daughter has somehow inherited our creativity and wicked sense of humor without being forced to develop those traits as coping mechanisms. What fun! She loves campy horror and the cheesy occult. Her style is a little edgy without any true angst behind it. At the moment, her favorite colors are black and purple. And I feel like, somehow, some way, all of this has helped her to take the pandemic in stride. She has a firm grasp on fantasy versus

Treat Yourself to a Good Old-Fashioned Novel

'Tis the season for reading! Many people have done their holiday shopping early this year or simplified or opted out of a lot of the usual hustling and bustling of this time. Here in Michigan, we're still in a high risk pandemic situation, and now there's a new variant circulating in the world that might render our exciting new booster shots less effective than we had hoped they would be. We are all in need of safe comforts at this time, and what could be safer or more snuggly than an immersive adventure tale full of purely fictional drama and peril that has nothing to do with the real storms outside of our windows right now?  It doesn't matter much whether you cuddle into bed with a luscious, thick hardcover object of beauty or a sleek ebook reader. The benefits of reading anything that engages your mind, but especially fiction and most especially literary fiction, are vast and well-documented. You can read all about it in  Harper's Bazaar , BBC Culture , and Healt

Pocket of Joy: The Indiana Jones Door Slide

I find that sometimes when the gods close a door, you can run and slide through the crack at the very last second. And even reach back to grab your hat, if you're quick! Indiana Jones Door Close GIF from Indiana Jones GIFs   This feels like the vibe for all of my home and auto repairs over the past year as well as how I released my novel, and it feels like how I'll need to finish my 2021 Christmas shopping. Over the summer, my family went through a harrowing adventure in major home repairs and maintenance that suddenly seemed financially possible due to those stimulus payments and that free student loan forbearance. My husband and I, with the help of my parents, spent the summer and early fall doing most of the work ourselves to demolish and rebuild our kitchen and main bathroom, which had seemed to fall to pieces all at once, just like our furnace and vintage pickup truck did the moment we finished renovations. Thank goodness for emergency savings and credit cards! In the Tim

LEIRAH AND THE WILD MAN Now Available in Ebook Formats

It's my last 30-something birthday today! And in celebration of what I hope will be my last birthday that requires me to work creatively around plague conditions, I have released Leirah and the Wild Man in affordable ebook formats!  Are you bummed out about travel difficulties and shipping delays as we enter yet another Covid-complicated holiday season? Relief is here! Enjoy this cheap, instant-gratification ticket to a wild and exciting adventure full of 100% imaginary peril, which you can enjoy snug within the comfort of your own bed, pillow-and-blanket-heaped couch by the fire, or bubble bath if you have the right kind of protection on your reading device. Read a free excerpt of the Kindle version at Read a free excerpt of the Nook version at Leirah and the Wild Man: A Tale of Obsession and Survival at the Edges of the Byzantine World is a historical thriller set in the 11th century. Leirah dreams of stealing a Viking longship, hunting pirates,

Pocket of Joy: Supply-Unchained Gift Giving

Happy Hannukah, St. Nicholas, Solstice, Christmas, Three Kings, Kwanzaa, birthday, or other winter celebration that involves gift-giving! This is a great year to try out some buy-nothing-new gift ideas that don't fit in a box or that can be wrapped creatively, using found-around-the-house materials like old scarves or tea towels, craft materials, holiday catalogs from your junk mail, or painted-over shoeboxes. There are many ways to get festive and express generosity toward loved ones without spending a lot of money or worrying about shipping and delivery, such as... delivering homemade baked goods or casseroles giving handmade crafts hosting a game night, in-person among the vaccinated or virtual to include parents of young children, the immunocompromised, and others too vulnerable to gather safely indoors regifting new stuff you don't want or need regifting your own used books scouring thrift stores for funny/ugly holiday sweaters getting vaccinated, then offering childcare,