I'm a relatively nice guy. I don't scheme or plot against people. For the most part, I don't wish anyone ill. I am concerned about what people think of me. (It's not anything superficial. At least, I don't think it is. A good reputation is the reflection of a life well lived.) My students would say I'm fair and level headed. However, I am an absolute bastard when people ask for advice about being a writer. I've blogged about this complex before. It's true. I have little patience in this area. I turn into the suck-it-up-and-deal-with-it drill sergeant father. I don't need anyone to reassure me that I'm not too bad. I'm the one inside my head, and I can tell you: It's bad. I got another email this week soliciting help from a wide-eyed aspiring writer. I over-stepped my bounds in my critique, once again.
Some people are naturally nice. I envy these people. The bastard Mr. Hyde is always lurking in my head. Ready to emerge anytime someone wants to know how to be a writer and they fail to use basic capitalization or punctuation in their email -- or if they ask me to give feedback on a script and the first page is absolutely unreadable. I want to help. I sincerely do. And Mr. Hyde pulls me down.
April Wenzel's wisdom: "Don't give advice unless someone asks for it three times."
Chynna Clugston's wisdom: "You'll get less glares at conventions if you don't give your opinion as readily. You're not a douche, but you're not creating good feelings. Stay neutral, I say. If they're smart, they'll figure it out sooner or later."
Benjamin Hall's wisdom: "I normally focus on the things I like and if I have any nit picks I'll pick the least inflammatory and see how they respond to light criticism. If they take it, I'll go further. If they freak out, I let it drop."
I hereby declare, for my own mental health, I'm going sober. Until I can learn to control my inner bastard and be a better person, I'm keeping my opinions to myself.