Saturday, March 9, 2019

How Cynicism Helped Me

While I'm not always super proud that I'm a cynic, I realized the other day that it does make me a better writer and editor. Who knew I could find a positive, right? All you cynics out there, take heart. Those of you who are blessed with a sunnier outlook, prepare to glean from the dark side. ;)

I'll be the first to admit that approaching people or the world at large with a cynical mind isn't always a good thing. However, approaching books with a cynical mind is surprisingly helpful.

When it comes right down to it, I think this is simply because being a cynic means I'm hard to please. That's it. I have extraordinarily high standards.

In the life of my own writing, this means that I will do whatever it takes. While writing the sequel to Martin Hospitality, that has meant experiencing burnout, restarting, rewriting ... and taking years longer than I wanted to.

Those are all things I'm willing to do in order to get a good book on the other end. Quality really matters to me. In case you couldn't tell by my previous two blog posts ... xD This makes me very hard on myself and my writing. While it's not always a super fun process, I come out the other side better for it ... eventually. Or at least, my book does.

At the same time, enjoying my own work is the best. If I can reach a point where I am pleased, then chances are I'm going to please the majority of my target audience as well. Because I'm way more particular than most people. Some of that comes with being the creator, and some of that comes with my personality.

Of course there are downsides like self-doubt. This is why Hailey Rose is the best critique partner, you guys. I would die without her reassurance. A need for the manuscript to be sheer perfection can also make me lose my mind, so that's fun. Yet overall, I think it works out. 

Those high standards don't go away when I edit. I will search how many different ways you spelled the same word and if that was really the color of eyes the preacher had fifteen chapters ago. In other words, I put your book through the same fine-toothed-comb approach!
Lots of people simply don't have the same obsession with getting every detail identically aligned. While that may be perfectionism speaking, my cynicism won't let things slide, even if it's not my manuscript. If I see a problem and I'm being paid to point out problems ... I have to say something.

Along the same lines, I play devil's advocate really well. Reading with that challenging voice in my head helps me catch things, especially in other people's writing, that could come off the wrong way. Unfortunately, it's harder to do this in my own manuscripts.

Editing is really good for me, though, because when I work with other people, it's my job to find the positives as well.

While being cynical can be a fault, it's good for me to step back and view cynicism itself in a positive light, as contrary as that sounds. Cynicism has equipped me to do my calling well. God obviously knew what He was doing. ;)
Do you consider yourself an optimist, realist, or pessimist? Have you ever considered how your personality plays into what you do?


  1. I strive to be everything ... a rational emotionalist, a pessimistic optimist, realistic idealist ... basically, there's good in both, so why not be balanced? I think cynicism is very important, but so it kindness. And that they can work together. Because we should be a lover of both truth and people. Fun post! I'm definitely a Devil's Advocate ;D

    1. Hahahaha, yes, balance is the key to life!! Glad to find a fellow DA ;P You've got a great perspective!

  2. I was just reading this in my email and then I see my name and I'm like wait what?? xD But thank you so much!!! You're the best critique partner ever, too. ;)

    As if you didn't already know, I'm an eternal optimist. xD Maybe this is why we work so well together!!!

    1. Haha you're welcome!! <3 (Seriously, I would not survive without you and neither would my poor little books.)

      Never would have guessed :P We need to spend more time together so your optimism can rub off on me. True optimists are hard to find these days!!

  3. I’m a weird mix of optimist and pessimist. More of an optimist than a pessimist I guess though. I’m quite realistic some times but I’m more often impractical. :P

    ~Katja L.

    1. Haha, that makes sense!! I like to say realist, but I'm afraid I am a bit of a pessimist. I think that's my defense to avoid disappointment. But that doesn't give me license to dampen things for everyone else xD


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