Last week, I got some criticism from a reader who felt that the editor’s note on the blog was smarmily whiny. It probably was. You decide.
I will take this opportunity to defend what I was trying to say.
There are a lot of people out there who are in love with the novelty of being a writer. I want to be a writer. Oh, I wrote this piece, would you like to read it? I am famous, my work was published in the Nation. I have been expressed all the above sentiments at one time or the other.
The thing is, writing is hard work, responsibility, time and effort. To express what you need to express, what needs to be expressed, is not a thing to be done casually. It takes thought, otherwise the reader will soon learn to dismiss you as an ignorant buffoon. It takes effort, to research, to make sure you write exactly what you mean, to present it in a way that your reader will not only enjoy but also learn from. It represents the responsibility a writer carries, because indeed many a writer has formed the basis of a culture.
A good writer is not lazy. You must put in all the hard work to fulfill your goals in writing. If you write to entertain, then for the love of words, entertain. If you write to advocate for a certain cause, then make sure that you do not equivocate between stands. If you write to teach, make sure that you do teach, and that means that you do not present your work in the most boring of tones.
So back to the whining. The critical reader has a responsibility. To critique in a manner that will allow the writer to grow as a writer. Of course not all critique will be positive. You can especially expect angry disdainful criticism if you take a stance that is not popular. Be careful though, it could just be that the reader is so absolutely disgusted by your lack of effort in making your work interesting and fun to read no matter how academic or not, your work is.
The bottom line is, every writer needs critique to grow in their skills. No matter how good you are, no matter how successful you have been, critique is one thing that makes us excel as writers. The rest of the growth depends on your personal commitment to growth.
With that, I would like to usher you into this week’s reading.
I’ll start you off with a funny poem about the course of education as has been in this country since independence. A Gooder School By Muthoni Garland.
Then I’ll take to Bongo-land, and place you in the very able arms of Sandra Mushi, and her story which is the Story of the Week.A Hired Mother.
Still in Bongo-land, I urge you to visit with Sharifa who is experiencing A Desperate Moment.
When you come back from Tanzania, please read Peterson Mutua’s lament about African Leaders.
Isaac Mburu is contemplating the Concept of Life.
Boniface Gachugu is sharing with you an excerpt from one of his novels yet to be published. The Reunion Date.
Marvin Tumbo has something to say about the Youth Agenda.
I will send you off into the weekend with a bit of a laugh on Hekaya za Mkenya : Me and My Limousine by Anthony Chambira.
I was so engrossed in the unfolding events that I did not see him approach, a police man, I have one thousand reasons to be afraid, I have no driving license, my tyres are worn out, my insurance expired way back in 2007, and so on and so on, “Mzee tafadhali weka gari yako kando na ulete driving license.” He says, sorry, Commands! My brain froze at the sight of this symbol of terror; my feet kick into action, accelerator floored, and car takes off. I can see the distance between me and the policeman grow, 10 meters, 20 meters, I am smiling, bursting with joy; car coughs once, then a second time, and looses speed, I have run out of fuel. Read the rest here