A little over a year ago in September of 2011, my hubs bought me a betta fish. I named him Finney. He was my first betta, so I asked the pet store person for advice.
"Don't overfeed him! Only one pellet of food a day. And skip a day a week! They can go a long time without food."
She said this rather forcefully. I don't know about you, but when a person speaks with a strong conviction, I tend to second guess myself. I tend to think they are right, and I am wrong.
I'd read up on the internet where several websites said to feed my fish more that that. And yet, there was that voice.
"ONLY ONE PELLET OF FOOD A DAY! AND SKIP A DAY A WEEK!"
So I ignored the internet, fed Finney one teeny, weeny nugget a day, and dutifully skipped Sundays.
Finney's fins started to shrink. They got stumpy, as if something was mysteriously chomping chunks out of it every week. When I got him, he had lush fins and brilliant iridescent blue scales with a black face. Finney's face turned a dusky gray and the blue became muted and paler.
So one day, after Finney gave me fishy-eye-glare of pathetic hunger, I said, "Eff it, I'm feeding him more. If he's going to die, he'll die with a full stomach." So I put in three nuggets a day. And he didn't die. In fact, his fins started to regenerate and his color came back after only two weeks.
The moral of the story? And what does this have to do with writing? Or life for that matter?
The loudest, most insistent voice isn't always right.
It's not a volume contest, after all.
Bad book reviews come to mind in this scenario. Those can scream pretty loudly! Or maybe it's bad writing advice, or querying advice, or career advice. But if your instinct and other, quieter sources say otherwise, maybe, just maybe you should ignore that loud voice.
Remember this old adage?
Feed a person a fish, you keep them alive for a day. Teach a person to fish, you feed them for the rest of their lives.
Who knew there was something to be learned about feeding the darned fish?
|Finnegan the Fish. Doing well. Swimmingly, in fact.|