Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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In My Humble Opinion

Humble PieIf you ask me for my humble opinion, I will give you that and more: I will help.

My tagline reads: “Writer ~ Editor ~ Encourager.” I find joy in giving others encouragement, in any way I can, even if I have to force feed it to them.

A few years back, my son told me that his wife would love my help decorating their new house. In the past, I’d helped my daughter and my friends with decorating projects, so this was a task I could handle. Still, as a mother-in-law, I checked with him twice.

As soon as I got his okay, I started making the rounds of my favorite stores, filling my trunk with samples: area rugs, lamps, artwork, pillows, vases, curtains, and blanket throws. I was sure I’d hit the mark with many of my purchases.

Good thing I kept the receipts; I was wrong. Turns out my daughter-in-law did a perfectly fine job on her own.

[I can hear you, you know. Yes, I should have checked with her first.]

In the writer’s critique group I founded, members often ask about the publishing process. I have given talks on it, handed out lists of books on the subject, conducted workshops, and emailed them links to multiple industry-related blogs. “Overwhelm” is the word that comes to my mind—and theirs.

A few months ago, a friend asked me to review their church’s new website. They’d been working on it for a while and needed another set of eyes. I went through every page, read every word, checked every jot and tittle, looked at every graphic, and commented on it all in a five-page report. No half-hearted efforts on my part! I doubt they will ask me again.

Recently, a young man wanted my feedback on his fundraising letter. I attacked the task with vigor, practically re-wrote the whole dang thing. When I was done, it sounded nothing like him, but a lot like me. He used very few of my suggestions. Gee whiz, why not?

My husband is fond of saying, “People really don’t want your opinion; they just want to hear their own opinion in someone else’s  voice.”  I don’t want to believe he is right, but I’m having second thoughts.

Or could it be that I need to dial it back a bit? Perhaps I should ask people to be more specific in their requests? Maybe I could ask myself why I think I know what’s right for them? Or maybe I could just say no?

Or . . . could it be that my humble opinion isn’t so humble? My conundrum: And how will I know when it is?

Tell me, please  . . . in your humble opinion.

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