In my quest to banish self-doubt it is once again time to join my fellow intrepid writers for a monthly expedition into my deepest fears. We call ourselves the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and are led by the fearless and inspirational Alex J. Cavanaugh.
If you’d like to join the fun, hop on over to the linky. We post the first Wednesday of every month, and it’s a fabulous group of writers.
This month I really felt that I’d made some real progress in this area.
One of my biggest obstacles in my writing has always been sharing my work with others, both fellow writers and regular folks in general. I can trace this back to unsupportive family, incredulous friends, and most of all, my own negative self-talk. This month, however, I did something concrete to turn this around.
What is it you ask?
This is my story, ‘The Tempest’s Serenade’, in a private queue awaiting critique, and having already received several critiques by some of my favorite writers.
I have been a member of Critique Circle for about a year and a half already. Until the beginning of last month, I had only submitted a grand total of three stories. Each time I did, it was a harrowing experience for me. I would spend days and days going over each piece in great detail, making sure each word was exactly the right one, and that each sentence was a different in structure from the last. I would agonize over character descriptions, and throw up my hands in disgust over big blocks of narrative that I knew were pure ‘telling’, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to transform into ‘showing.’ I would scrutinize each plot point. I would ask myself, “Did I end the chapter in the right place? Do my characters feel natural and realistic? Is the setting consistent?”
Completely overwhelmed but determined to overcome this obstacle, I spent the night before each story went up for review tossing and turning, certain that my spaghetti sentences and raw dialogue meatballs would be met with polite rejection. Then, after getting no critiques at all for my nonsensical drivel, perhaps one brave soul would take on my story, and, in the kindest possible way, tell me to please stop writing, and take up something useful, like making my own peanut butter, or knitting socks for my cat.
I have to confess, I had this whole post almost ready to go, when I deleted the second half of it.
I had written all about how these great critiques have added fuel to my creative fire, and how I had finally overcome the fire-breathing dragon that stood between me and novel revision greatness.
Then, a nudge from one of my favorite critiquers asking me when my next chapter was going to post gave me that all too familiar knot in my stomach.
I have to post more stories?
My battle to overcome self-doubt continues.
At Critique Circle a particularly tough-minded bunch of writers have organized into an elite group of critiquers known as the Thick Skin Club. They have declared that because they seek honest feedback, they promise not to take offense at any comments that might be misconstrued as hurtful. I have great admiration for their valor, and am also desirous of honest feedback, however I am certain that the Thick Skin Club would take one look at the quivering mess of my ego, and slam the door in my face.
I’m a much better fit over here at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!
Is it because I want no less than perfection, and will never, no matter how hard I work, achieve it?
Is it because I care about this deeply, and rejection would cut me to my core?
Probably all these things, but with the Insecure Writers by my side, I am determined to persevere anyway.
Does getting feedback on your writing make you nervous? How have critiques helped move your writing forward, and fueled your creative fire? Do you think you’ll ever be a member of the Thick Skin Club?