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Your own personal Milkbones - Laura Wise

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November 7th, 2008


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01:49 pm - Your own personal Milkbones
A question for you all on this lovely Friday!

To preface it, however -- this morning as I was reading this article about MSNBC newsperson Rachel Maddow, I was struck by something she said. She was walking her dog while talking to the reporter, and made this comment about the extremely complimentary press she's been getting:
“I’m trying not to read the blogs or the press about myself anymore,” she says. “I don’t think it’s healthy for me. It’s like training a dog. I needed it in the beginning, but now I need to sit—sorry,” she glances at the dog. “I need to S-I-T or S-T-A-Y without getting a Milkbone. You can’t live on Milkbones.”

Okay, I confess it. It's hard for me to work on my writing without 'Milkbones,' tasty treats of feedback and compliment about what I'm doing. It's hard for me to write in a vacuum, and because my own internal editor's volume button is broken off at 11, I've needed external validation. But I'm trying to just do the work without it, and it's getting (slightly) easier.

Part of this, though, is that I have old Milkbones in my email file -- kind words from my first-readers, which remind me that maybe someday people will want to read my stuff. And the other part of this is that I often distrust feedback and compliment because it feels perfunctory, as if given even if I didn't perform well to command. This not very pleasant attribute of mine isn't just about writing, but about compliments in general. My stash of Milkbones, then, consists of kindnesses I don't think were just tokens.

So, I send this question out to you. What's in YOUR stash of Milkbones? What compliment or kind word do you keep for days you need it? Tell me what makes you happy!

And may the weekend bring you more cookies, too. :-)

(20 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:winding_path
Date:November 7th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
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I have a coworker who will come into the library and ask a question, usually not a terribly difficult one -- has a book been published, what's the German word for something -- and then look SO HAPPY that I can give him an answer. I can float for a whole afternoon on that.

I'm not good at accepting compliments -- I love them, but my immediate reaction is to downplay them. I'm working on just smiling and saying thank you.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 7th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
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That is a lovely, lovely Milkbone. :-)

[hugs and compliments, too!]
[User Picture]
From:anne_d
Date:November 7th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
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[Hugs] I'm a lousy commentor; I can never think of the right things to say, but please know that I read and appreciate your work.

Hmmm. We don't do Milkbones here, so they'll be cat goodies. So. The look on Younger Daughter's face when I've given her something edible that she likes - she's very expressive. One of the cats snuggling onto my lap, or onto a favorite blanket.

I have been known to copy compliments into my personal journal so I can look them up later.

I love Rachel Maddow; she's smart and articulate and funny and nice, a rare combination these days.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 7th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
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You are a very GOOD commenter indeed, A. [hugs]

And your cat goodies -- catnips? ;-) -- are great. I love the idea of keeping compliments that way; it's smart and thrifty! :-)

Happy weekend to you and yours...
[User Picture]
From:headrush100
Date:November 7th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
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For writing, well, I also keep nice feedback. I found a lot of it when sorting out the room move recently, and although it's years old, it still makes me happy. I think the most moving compliment I ever received was from a mutual friend of ours, who was reading my stories before she knew me personally, and she told me they had helped divert her from her chemotherapy.

Workwise, a lady who recently moved to Town X came into the library in search of various things, and I was able to help her a lot. She said that when she came into the library she was feeling quite hopeless and at a loss as to how to access these things, but since I and my colleague helped her, she was feeling happy. So that was great. When you feel you have really made a difference to someone, it's great. When the special needs kids gave me a spontaneous group hug at the end of the project I did with them, that was amazing too. When I'm feeling jaded, I try to remember these things.

*hugs and pats*

Edited at 2008-11-07 09:19 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 7th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
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Those are wonderful things to keep close, A. Love the writing compliment -- what a fabulous thing to hear. (I miss our mutual friend, too....)

And YAY for your moments of work satisfaction. You *do* help a great many people. [nods]

[sends hugs to you and Miss B]
[User Picture]
From:gwynnega
Date:November 7th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, Milkbones. I guess keeping in mind that people have liked things I've written, and that I've had things published, is part of what keeps me going in the midst of a long project. Plus I get a lot of encouragement from friends and my agent in terms of continuing to write, even if I'm not showing the actual pages to anybody at the moment...

::hugs::
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 7th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
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Yes, publications are pretty nice Milkbones! :-) And hurrah hurrah for your ongoing writing, too.

[hugs and cheers]
[User Picture]
From:justhuman
Date:November 8th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
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Every bit of feedback makes me think that the story many not really suck ;-) But, much like a terrier, I only give those a quick lick and store them in the sofa cushions for a rainy day.

Of course, I always forget to look at them when I really need them.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 8th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)
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Your extension of the analogy is perfect. :-))

[applauds you]

[sends hugs and good thoughts for your weekend]
[User Picture]
From:wildrider
Date:November 8th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
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I have more highs and lows than a roller coaster! I get emotional high from watching birds and other animals - I saw a raven again yesterday and it made All Things Right!

I, too, love the "you write good!" accolades; my recent explosion against the outcome of some parts of the election got me lots of yummy milkbones... I admit it, it makes things better!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 8th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)
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I think that having external sources of joy -- like nature! -- is the sanest way to go. [applauds you]

Yay for storing Milkbones, too!

[hugs]
[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:November 8th, 2008 10:06 am (UTC)
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Your work is tasty, juicy and keeps on giving for a long yummy knaw:)

I keep all my feedback and spreadsheet it so I can understand the variables and trends. /economist.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 8th, 2008 11:13 am (UTC)
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Bless, L. [sends chocolates and thanks]

I love the idea that for you the feedback is quantifiable data! [beams]

[hugs]
[User Picture]
From:freixenet
Date:November 8th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
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Oh, what an interesting question. I am sure I hve a stash of Milkbones somewhere. In it is probably every genuinely enthused comment from students in my grammar course. But I think it says something significant that I cannot, off hand, think of what else might be in that stash. In fact, i might not have a stash at all.

I think I need milkbones.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 8th, 2008 01:57 pm (UTC)
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You need to replenish your stash, F! Yes yes yes.

(I suspect D is also a good source of these kind of treats...)

[hugs and cheers]
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 8th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
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You have found the point entirely. :-)

I love both your examples of your stash of treats (those therapist comments are gold!) AND your stash of wisdom. Hurrah! [hugs hugs and cheers]
[User Picture]
From:roguedemon
Date:November 11th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
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Hon, you do seem to turn aside compliments, and I always wonder why. But I'll keep giving them -- you need to appreciate the person that you are.

I think I'll decline to answer the other question in detail for now. I think I have managed to put together a fairly solid self-image in some ways, but it's under assault a lot, and I just keep fighting.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 11th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
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I very appreciate your kindness and your lovely words, Nell. I do. [sends masses of hugs]

I'm sorry, too, that you're having difficulties -- you are SO strong, and you do persevere! [applauds you]

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