The Vital Reason to Have People Read Your WIPs
Having people read your works in progress (WIPs) is vital not only for clean copy, but because we will make mistakes based on institutionalized racism.
It's hard for me to wrap my head around associating myself with the term, racist.
It's such a dirty word. So shameful.
My idea of myself equals NOT racist. But if I ever want to be aware of my mistakes before I make them, I need to separate the ugliness of what the word means from the fact that repetition has assimilated certain ideas, terms, and imagery into the common lexicon.
Here's an example:
While recently giving me feedback on some pages, my brilliant writing group pointed out a word that I used that was offensive not one, but two ways. Neither of which ever occurred to me.
Honestly, I still don't fully grasp the offensiveness, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I am going to educate myself on everything about this term in order to eradicate it from my vocabulary.
That's my responsibility. But I would be unable to carry out my responsibility if I weren't open to hearing constructive criticism.
I'm not mad at myself. I'm not a bad person. It is just one more thing to improve upon in my life's journey. And as writers, we have a duty to move forward on that journey so that we can continue to tell stories.
So have smart people read your WIPs! That's the only way to improve your writing—including using appropriate language.