The Writer’s Lens – E47: How Do We (Not) Handle Criticism And Feedback?

As a writer, I tend to handle criticism and feedback quite well. Nothing ever gets to me. There’s no negative press I can’t manage; no scathing review I can’t brush off as nothing more than white noise…

…or I could just be lying to myself. 

If you’ve ever written a story – especially something you feel strongly about – and had someone give you a negative reaction, you’ve probably felt like me: crushed. You may consider never writing again. You think it’d be best if the world never heard your voice. Your message. Ever.

That’s a tough place to find one’s self, but hey, you’re not alone. Even the most seasoned artists feel some pressure to appeal to their audiences. Yet putting our creative selves “out there” is only one part of the process; standing strong in the wave of responses is another. So, with this episode, I talk through some of the filters I’ve developed for dealing with the good, the bad, the ugly, and frankly, the apathetic.

And though you don’t have to use any of my tactics or filters, what I do hope is that you find this particular episode to be encouraging in your own creative journey.

The Writer’s Lens – Interview 12: David Ramos, The Long Road To Authorship

David Ramos has been writing for years. He’s published nearly two dozen books (thus far) and for his efforts, has built a small community of readers around him. He even has a new book on the way, Magnetic Faith, due out in March of 2019.

But, David didn’t just “fall into” publication. He sat down and made it happen. He learned what worked; he learned what didn’t work. And let’s be honest, he’s still learning as he goes.

David Ramos

And that’s the theme of my next interview with David Ramos on The Writer’s Lens – staying persistent and being disciplined about your goals. David and I discuss what it’s like to face rejection and how we, as writers, grow and develop as we continue to put ourselves out there. It’s a valuable life lesson and one that can’t be ignored if one is to cultivate a life’s work of writing and publishing.

For more on David, you can check out the links below:

Website – Ramos, Author

Facebook – Link

YouTube – Link

And P.S., don’t forget that David has a new book coming out this year called Magnetic Faith. It will be available through Amazon for purchase.

The Writer’s Lens – Interview 11: Loren Reash-Henz, “Does Music Tell Stories? And How Do We Value Art?”

Does music tell a story? This was a question I posed as the primer for my next interview with fellow creative, poet, and voice teacher, Mr. Loren Reash-Henz.

Loren Reash-Henz

Loren and I connected at a book signing last year and as I’ve come to find out, Loren has a real penchant for all things music –  teaching, theory, its roots, and its expression. In this conversation, Loren and I sit down to talk about all things music and writing. And how we are all striving to be original and authentic, but oftentimes, we get mixed up on what this can look like. I found this to be a fun and engaging dialogue that opens up a lot of boxes on what we think creativity and art do for a person’s soul. And, ultimately, for our culture.

Loren also works for Apollo’s Fire, a baroque orchestra, here in Cleveland, OH. You can find out more about them here.

The Writer’s Lens – Interview 10: Willie Scott, aka FOLD

When it comes to using the term, “creative”, I’m still a newbie. I happen to think I’m creative (I’m a writer, after all) so tying creative and writer together isn’t a problem. When it comes to other creative types, I – like many others – tend to recognize someone for a single gift: making a craft, making music, writing, etc. These all make up the “creative” part of our persona. But is that all we are made for? Just one facet of creativity? For sometimes we encounter someone who is not only creative in one area, but in several different venues too.

Cue the guest of my next interview: Willie Scott, aka FOLD. (click here for the interview)

Producer Matlock (left) and Willie, “IAMFOLD” (right)

Willie is a return guest on The Writer’s Lens and in addition to being one-half of Better Than Blended and co-founder of TKI Publishing, Willie is also a recording artist. He truly puts the idea of putting one’s creative interests to work while simultaneously debunking the notion that we have to be so singularly focused on one aspect of our creativity, thus starving our other creative outlets. So in this interview, I explore with Willie all the dynamics that come with being an entrepreneur, a creative writer, a father, and a husband.

This was a fun interview for Willie and me and I think you’ll find it equally enjoyable.

For more on Willie and his music, you can check out these links below:

Better Than Blended – WebsiteFacebookInstagram

TKI Publishing – WebsiteFacebook

Matlock and FOLD – Facebook

YouTube
Matlock and FOLD – “Favor
Matlock and FOLD – “ICIT – In Christ I Trust
Matlock and FOLD – “Turn up

Guest Appearance – “Jesus Smart: The Podcast” with Brian Del Turco

In case you missed it, I was fortunate to be a return guest on Jesus Smart: The Podcast this past week. It’s my second time conversing with fellow content creator Brian Del Turco, the voice of Jesus Smart, and this time around we discussed goal-setting for the new year and how that plays a role in establishing our personal narratives.

To check out the full episode, you can check out the following links:

 

And here are the links to our prior conversation (broken into two parts) from my first appearance:

 

The Writer’s Lens – E46: A 2019 Confessional (With Goals)

It’s hard to believe 2018 has already come and gone. So with 2019 here, it’s time to do that age-old favorite: make a confession.

Wait, you mean resolutions, right? Well, not really.

Whenever a new year comes around, we are quick to make lists of what we want to change in the year ahead. We make big – and small – life-altering goals that we hope and pray will come to fruition in the year ahead. And though I’m no stranger to doing such a thing, I thought it might be good to look at the year behind me too. Where did I “miss the mark” on my creative goals? Was I following my own advice? The advice of others? Turns out I have some work to do (don’t we all?).

There were certainly some wins and some misses from 2018. So in this episode, I take a closer look at where things went well and not-so-well as I look ahead to take on 2019.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

2018 “Wins”:

  • Podcast still alive
  • New logo
  • Downloads only increasing
  • Journaling
  • Reading more

2018 “Misses”:

  • Missed launch date – The Shadow Of Mars
    • 1st reason: I backed myself into a corner creatively
    • 2nd reason: Not at peace with product
  • Less interviews

2019 “Looking Ahead”: 

  • Re-purposing The Writer’s Lens – storytelling is paramount
  • Guests (new and old)
  • Keep cultivating good habits
  • Hitting that deadline for The Shadow Of Mars

“The Scientist’s Dilemma” – J.C.L. Faltot

I told you about The Color of Soul, and now I’m telling you about another short story of mine: The Scientist’s Dilemma.

An oldie but a goodie, The Scientist’s Dilemma holds a special place in my heart as it represents two things about my writing life: 1) my transition from publishing non-fiction to fiction. And 2) my transition from being a lukewarm, skeptical believer to an actual believer in God – and more specifically, Christ.

The Scientist’s Dilemma is a piece that explores what I believe lies at the core of every person: a longing to know all so that we might be able to be all. So you might say this is an exercise in learning humility. Or at least exploring what that might look like.

If you enjoyed The Color of Soul, then this might be up your alley too.

Available only in Kindle ebook format (for now).

“The Color of Soul” – J.C.L. Faltot

In addition to the science fiction I spend my time writing, I do short stories too. And this is one of them: The Color of Soul.

It’s been almost four years from the time I published this little tale. One that involves two brothers, a game, and a revelation of how the world can look through the eyes of someone who has seen the better parts of creation.

If you’d like something to pass the time (and maybe shed a tear or two) then I’d encourage to give this oldie-but-goodie a go. That is, of course, provided that you have a Kindle on hand.

The Writer’s Lens – Response Episode: “Is The Lord of the Rings a ‘Racist’ Story?”

The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy tale that has inspired millions. Its story of good versus evil transcends generations. And it uses rather unconventional forms to do it: with fictional beings like hobbits, dwarves, and elves.

But there are men and women in this fantasy too. And orcs. And goblins. And trees that talk and walk. And…racism? Wait…what?

Last month, I came across an article that caught my attention. A fellow science fiction writer was being interviewed for a podcast and when the topic of Tolkien’s classic came up, the author went on to say that the Lord of the Rings has “hard to miss” themes of racism throughout. Considering how I’d never heard this claim before, I did some research and found that there have been others who have felt the same way (not a lot, but they are out there if you look). So I did what any social media personality with a platform would do: I did an episode detailing what I thought of this accusation.

Because this is a serious thing to say. Not just because The Lord of the Rings has birthed an entire genre or because it made millions at the box office – it’s because of the nature of the claim. It touches deeply on sacred grounds. And if tossed around flippantly, we run the risk of being short-sighted on what could be considered “racist” and what is not.

So, is Tolkien’s work racist? Enclosed in this episode are my thoughts on that matter as well as why I felt the need to address it.

The full episode can be found here.

The Writer’s Lens – E45: The Affirmation of Finished Work

What does it do for us when we finish what we start? If you’re the type of person that struggles with unfinished projects, then maybe you are in need of a morale boost. Or a gentle reminder of what you feel strongly about. Something to kick-start the juices and make it to the finish line.

Or perhaps on an even deeper level, maybe your unique message just isn’t clear yet.

Episode 45: The Affirmation of Finished Work

In my case, finishing a book is what I aim to do. Not an easy task; not something one does in a weekend. For writing a book can feel like running a marathon. But here’s something to remember: we aren’t alone in our pursuits.

In this episode, I talk in depth about the things we can learn about ourselves as we work through our passion projects. And how there’s a unique voice each of us can cultivate by bringing that message to completion.

Website: www.jclfaltot.com

Facebook: J.C.L. Faltot

Instagram: The Writer’s Lens