Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nicely Done?

In 2014, I saw a film called Whiplash. Despite the extremely vulgar language, I resonated with the sadistic tyrant instructor, Fletcher. Here's a two sentence summary of the film: Andrew, a promising young drummer, enrolls at a music conservatory with dreams of greatness. The professor, Fletcher, insults, humiliates, and intimidates him. (The title refers to a piece of music.)

Only at the end does Fletcher explain. He saw immense talent in Andrew, but that greatness would never come out if he had said, "That was nicely done." He felt he had to drive the talented ones; only the great ones survive his relentlessness.

I hope I don't become sadistic in my treatment, but when I work with newer writers, I warn them that I'm tough. For me, good enough is never good enough. As in the film, the gifted ones keep at it, despite rejection and echoes of failure. They not only keep at it, but their writing soars.

And like Fletcher, there's only one way I can recognize the outstanding ones: They keep at it.

I'm committed to remain a writer who is always learning—
and growing.


  1. Powerful post, Cec. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. To be sure "Nicely done" won't churn my engine. This summer I forced myself to finish reading two books not up to par. What I learned from those authors was invaluable: what NOT to do.
    Anna Russell 10-1-15


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