Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Baby Can Take It

One of the first rules of being a writer is to grow a thick skin.

I remember one of my first writers groups I attended. I was scared to death. Here I was sitting with people who were writing books! I'd only written a few articles.

And then the critique time started.

Ugh.

I had to read my offering out loud. In front of everyone.

I thought I'd cry as my voice shook over each word on the page. But the worst part came after I finished.

They didn't get it.

Thankfully, a very sweet lady reached for the copy I held in my hand and asked if she could take it home and email me some suggestions. A buoy in an ocean.

I have not forgotten both of those feelings--the let down and the gratitude. Later, after I could breathe again, I realized the other writers were trying to be helpful and as I considered some of their suggestions--they had been correct. But my skin was still a little too thin.

I think having a good critique partner or group where you can share is essential. Sure--my husband listens patiently when I make him sit still long enough and read him a page or too. "It's wonderful!" he always says--no matter what.

That's not what I need nor is it all that helpful.

But still--there is something about asking another writer to look at your work. Your masterpiece--your baby.

I'm working this week on getting my book out to my friend to read. She's an avid reader but not a writer. But she's honest. Already I feel that fear creeping through my heart--what if she hates it and I did all this work!!!

Breathe Terri.

7 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Terri, you got it right. We need an honest crit partner or group if we want to improve our craft. Can't say enough good stuff about my own group of 6+ years. Invaluable.

Janna Qualman said...

I agree. Though my friends and family mean well (and boost my confidence), it's those with completely objective views who help me most. They're indespensible.

I really need to find or form a writing group. :)

Janna Qualman said...

I did ask our head librarian if she knew of any local groups, and she didn't. I'll have to take my search online.

Yolanda said...

Terri,

Your post is something that I myself, walk through on a daily basis when I post on my blog.

You see, I've not been in school for 20 plus years, and have NEVER EVER taken a writing class.

So when I hear of "She Speaks" or other places to learn more, and to be critiqued, I get SCARED.

I think that is the awesome part of blogging, because I too want my blog to solely be used for God and by God. And those reading it, are critiquing and hopefully lives are being changed.

This was much needed...thank you!

Lovingly,
Yolanda

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

I certainly agree about husbands. Mine thinks everything I write is wonderful and of course that's great for the ego, but doesn't help much with sharpening my skills.

It takes courage to write anything that's going to be on display for public viewing. Whenever we do, we put ourselves in the path of criticism. Much of what we write comes from a place deep inside us; a very private part of our soul, so we lay that part out there for everyone to see.

I've been lucky enough to have had gentle, loving suggestions along the way and I've tried to learn from them.

Being in touch with other bloggers is a big help, too.

Angie Ledbetter said...

PS.....Try your local large bookstore chain. The B&N here hosted a huge writers group and carried info. in its instore flyer for us. Or start your own. (You can look at the National Assn. of Women Writers for good guidelines.) You won't regret it!

Janna Qualman said...

Thanks for the advice on my blog, Terri. I do have freelance publications under my belt, both in print and online content. Though, like with everyone, more would only boost my resume. :)