Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Great Basket Party of '10 and Judgemental? Or observant?

First off, welcome to my new friends. And hello to my old friends. MUWAH! I've been lurking on all ya'll's blogs and am excited to get to know you, new friends. While you are here at my pad, make sure you...............

Enter The Fantabulous Great Basket Giveaway of '10. Here are what they look like so far:

I haven't included the books though, because those will be inserted to fit the tastes of the wieners... er... I mean WINNERS. All you must do to play is................

1. Be a follower. Like a little duck in a pond. Only you don't have to swim. Instead push the nice, little button over there ----------------------------->

2. Tell me in the comments HERE, as in this post, or HERE, as in last week's post, what month of the year is a significant one to you and why.

Good luck to the wiener wannabes!

Now on to the content of this post......... I need to admit my greatest weakness: I judge people. I think I have people figured out far before I get to know them and it irks me that I'm such a jackhole like that. The other day I saw an acquaintance of mine at the library (because where else would I be) and she was telling me (please don't be reading this, acquaintance) how she couldn't get her act together that day and get her kids to story time like I had. I immediately thought, "It's ten o'clock in the morning! You can't get out the door by ten?"

And like the aforementioned callous jackhole that I am, I judged her before I even thought, "Well, you're here more than I am even." Which is true. Or: "Are you having a hard time? Anything I can do?" Well I found out later that she's pregnant with her third and having the not-so-fun-kill-me-now morning sickness. I've been down that road before and haven't been able to get out the door earlier than 10 too. So I should have cut her some slack from the get-go. Shame on me.

But it got me thinking: I watch people a lot. I listen and observe and judge... er... NOTICE people's ticks, tone, and physical essence. My writing gleans from life observations and especially people observations. So what I want to know is, a) is it a normal tendency in writers to judge others, since we generally are an observant bunch and b)how do I learn to keep observing but lose the judgemental attitude I impose on others? Any thoughts? And as a side thought, do you judge your CHARACTERS before they show you who they really are? Do you know who they'll be before the book is even in draft form? I'm curious...


  1. Fun contest! It's hard to pick a significant month. I mostly like June or July the best, however, because the weather is turning warm and I LOVE the outdoors. Something about summer inspires me to create more, get more motivated, and enjoy myself more.

  2. First of all, I am desperate to know who you saw at the library. Second of all, I am a people watcher/judger too and I am trying hard to be better. Third, I LOVED what you said in church yesterday! Thank you for that. And finally, fourth - My month is November, but really I love all months! That is just a happy no stress kinda month where you get to chow down without the worry of gift buying (yet). And I ttally love the baskets! Imagine, if I won one it would be the first thing I have EVER won! ;)
    And can I change my month to May???? LOL

  3. Oh and BTW - you know me, definitely a reader, not a writer! And wow aren't you Mrs. Popular!!!! LOVE you!

  4. I do find that I tend to judge my characters - I think I know who they are and then they go and do something I hadn't expected at all. I love that - it means they're three dimensional, but it also can get in the way when they're throwing monkey wrenches in your plot! Those baskets are looking awesome!

  5. I was judgmental before I began writing in earnest, so I think it's just a personality quirk. Observing has certainly helped me with writing - I've always been a keen observer.

    I have a vague sense of character, and then they reveal more of themselves as I go. In the process, I learn more about myself because don't we all put a piece of ourselves in our characters?

  6. I don't really write (sometimes sorta kinda) but nothing like you or Jon :) But I do know what you mean about judging, and I actually think it's more like COMPARING (or maybe that's the same thing?) I feel like the reason you hold people to certain standards whether it be others you meet in person or characters that you write about, is because you feel like you know yourself, you know your life experiences, your situations and everything that you would do in any given situation. You have standards for yourself in everything and gut reactions on how you handle any given task. So naturally you "assume" that everyone else thinks the same way as you. You KNOW they don't, but you think they do at the same time.

    In my philosophy class in college we would talk about this a lot. The "common sense" factor. When you talk about "plain old common sense" what you REALLY are talking about is your common sense. For instance it's common sense not to go barefoot in the snow or that you should look across a busy street before walking into it or not touch the fire because it is hot. But everything in life is done or measured by what we have been taught, learned, observed or know. All you have to base your way of thinking off of is your life, your experiences, and your "common sense". That being said, you didn't know the acquaintance was having a hard time and therefore didn't have any knowledge to base your thought that there's no way that YOU wouldn't get up and out of the door before 10, so naturally it seems odd that she would do something like that. However with a little more information it kind of falls into place :)

    I think the same can be said for a written character that's developing. At first they start off being you, even if only in a small part. You might give them different character traits than you have (more intelligence, bravery, wisdom, etc) but they will think and react like you until they themselves have been exposed to different situations and other written "people" who mold them into the people they become. So in a way of comparing you DO know your characters... at first, and you DO know other people... at first. I think it's what comes after that that counts.

    And I don't think that you're a jackhole at all. It's natural to feel like people are curious when they don't do things the way you expect. How do you "change" that? I don't know. The thought that came to mind was actually a quote I have at my desk about developing charity. I think having charity is where it makes the difference because it helps your first thoughts be "benefit of the doubt" ones instead of "well that's wierd" :) I'm not saying I'm very good at it, or that you're not good at it, but I think keeping that in mind has made a big difference for me lately. I deal with so many annoying people at work that it's very easy to jump to thoughts in my head of why they're so incompetent or why they're so lazy or uneducated... and then sometimes I find out that they're recovering from cancer treatments and couldn't get out of bed which was why they couldn't move their car from out of my apartment parking spot even though I yelled at the leasing office for 3 days about it (true story) and sometimes that's when I feel like a jackhole the most. But all we can do is move forward with a new attitude of remembering that everyone is not us... even though sometimes they really should be! haha. I totally understand and relate, and I hope that helped, even thought it was long winded :)

  7. On being judgmental-- I don't know whether writers are more judging that us regular folk. I think most people are that way to some extent. I can be fairly judgmental, but I try not to let it show or affect my actions. I'm always open to my opinion being wrong and/or changed. I hope that others would do the same for me.

    Thanks for the contest-- My significant month is April. I was born on April Fool's Day, and I was also married on that day in 1995. My husband's birthday is 363 days before mine, on April 3rd. My 2nd son was born on April 9th. My first son was due on April 23rd, but true to form was too stubborn to come out for another 2 weeks. My sister in-law was also born in April. So there's lots of celebrating and gift-giving at that time of year. Like a 2nd Christmas!

    Laura Hartness
    The Calico Critic
    CalicoCritic at gmail dot com

  8. I don't think it's a writing thing. I think it's an individual thing.

  9. Cindy: Welcome to the party! June is one of my favorites too and I love Indepence Day. I'm definitely inspired to be outside more, though not create. Too busy wanting to play.

    Kristi: I'll never tell. :) And you CAN change your month because I can never choose just one either, though I chose Feb. this time.

    Susan: I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who prejudges my characters!

    Theresa: Well said about characters. And I agree that writers are all keen observers (and have vivid imaginations). Good to know judging isn't only my problem too! We can work on our therapy together. LOL

    Steph: Well said. Long-winders are very welcome at this site. Ha, ha. And I love what you said about the common sense factor and giving people the benefit of the doubt.

    Laura: April is one of my favs too! My birthday is on the 10th and I love Easter. I think you're right--everyone is judgemental to some extent, we just have to rise above it. Welcome to our contest!

    Myrna: You are probably right. It's just something I need to work on.