Thursday, March 15, 2012

Professor Pedantic

Headline Nokomis, FL: (cuz I really wanna be there right now)

Professor I.M. Pedantic, tenured creative writing instructor at the University of Your Mind, has been charged with acting in collusion with three other persons of interest; Your Skills, Your Instincts, and Your Voice, in an attempt to make you a crappy writer.

Professor Pedantic and the others are allegedly involved in a bribery scandal with the goal of scaring fledgling authors into believing they have to do just as the Professor tells them to do all of the time.

“One must always adhere to the rules of grammar!” shouted the Professor as he was shoved into a police cruiser upon leaving the Nokomis Courthouse.

Protestors outside the courthouse carried signs and shouted in unison as the Professor was carted off to jail.

We ain't skeered a’you! We ain't skeered a’you!”

O Professor Pedantic! How the mighty have fallen!

I’m sure we all know someone like Professor Pedantic who comes along and always criticizes our writing.

I know at least one pedantic twit who I believe wants to crush my very soul to keep me from achieving any form of success just so he can say “I told you so!”

They’re out there, and they’re coming to get you. Hell, it may well BE you who is your own worst Professor Pedantic. If so, my condolences and here, I’ll pass the J├Ągermeister.

Yep, Professor Pedantic is one big SOB!

If you want to know the truth about it, the God’s honest, no strings attached, unvarnished, skin-your-knees-and-run-to-mama-crying truth, then here it is:

Professor Pedantic’s real goal is to make you question your skills and your instincts in order to squelch your voice!

That professor is a big jerk!

But we can overcome this, can’t we? We can get past this giant-pile-of-mustard-colored-baby-crap-on-a-sky-blue-painted-wall BS that this Professor Pedantic guy throws at us, right? (BTW, true story...when my son was newborn he actually had projectile mustard colored baby poop that shot out and hit my baby blue painted walls.)

The simple answer is YES WE CAN!

We can overcome this attack. And believe me, that’s exactly what this is folks, an attack on our confidence.

Look, there is good criticism, and then there is bad. I am taking about the bad kind. The kind that makes you constantly pick apart what you write and revise it and edit it and pick it apart and revise it and edit it and pick it apart... over and over until you get absolutely NOTHING done!

Now don’t get me wrong... you MUST edit and revise your work. That goes without saying (or it should).

What you DO NOT need is someone (yourself or someone like you) becoming so critical that you never accomplish your goals (whatever they may be).

Abject negativity will stall or completely shatter your writing goals.

If these naysayers can get you to question your skillsthen you will stop trusting your instincts, and then (gasp), guess what happens?

You will LOSE the ability to write in your own VOICE!

Perish the thought!

So, dear readers, since I have you on the edge of your nest begging like baby birds for another piece of regurgitated worm fodder, here’s the dealio...

There are THREE easy steps you can take to sharpen your skills and hone your instincts so that you can create a written piece of work that speaks in your own voice.
  1. Observe - As writers, it is imperative that we go out into the world and just LOOK AROUND. Look at nature, look at people, look at buildings. Watch what they do, see how they act, feel the texture of things. Think of ways to convey that information to someone else and NOT JUST in written form. Speak it out loud. Find ways to become a GOOD or GREAT STORYTELLER. And the best way to do this is to get out there and see the world. Now I know for some this may be impossible. SO GET ON THE INTERNET! The world is out there even on the internet, and while this might be an additional hurdle for you that others do not have, use that to your advantage! Take your so called “disadvantage” and force it to make you into a better writer!
  2. Learn - It’s one thing to be able to see the world, and maybe even be able to speak about it or write about it, but (cringe) Professor Pedantic is right about at least one thing: you HAVE to learn the profession of writing before you can be a writer. I know I know... this goes against everything I was saying before, right? No, not really. There are rules out there. And if you want to be able to convey your message properly you have to LEARN how to do that, learn the rules. There is structure, there is plot, there is pacing. But... just like Pee-Wee Herman said in his Big Adventure, everyone has a big BUT... DO NOT let these things get in your way. If you have to modify a rule to fit the perfect scene you are trying to create then bend it a little. But if you want to BREAK a rule...? Ummm... be careful. Rules are there for a reason and that’s why you have to LEARN your craft. But after that you can ignore Professor Pedantic.
  3. Do - You will hear all of what I have written elsewhere so let me sum it up for you in one easy word: DO! Just go do it. If you want to write then write. Do not let anyone stop you. And that includes YOU! Get out of your own way! Go observe. Go learn.  And then go do. (See what I did there??! Ha! Screw you Professor Pedantic!!)

Hope this helps! I really love helping others and if the Green Slime (remember that stuff from the 80’s? Awesome stuff!) that drips out of my mind helps out anyone else in any odd sort of way, then I have a NEW reason to be a thanktivisttoday!




  1. Couldn't agree more. Nicely done!

  2. Thank you! A lesson I had to learn the hard way :-/