Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why I Need and Love my Critique Group (even when I'm slightly afraid of them)

I am always nervous about attending my writer's group meetings.  It's ridiculous, really.  They are the kindest, most understanding and supportive people, but I get butterflies in my stomach every time I think about sharing my work with other aspiring authors.

Yesterday, I felt particularly nervous.  I brought in the fifth chapter of my novel and I didn't feel good about it.  Something wasn't working and I was anxious to share anything that I wasn't at least partially proud of.

As a perfectionist and overachiever, I do not like feeling unprepared or inadequate, so I even considered not sharing.  In fact, I waited until everyone else had shared, silently hoping we'd run out of time to look at my work.  But, nope.  With encouraging nods and smiles on their faces, they persuaded me to hand out my writing.

And I was right.  Something wasn't working.

But here's the great thing.  Here's the thing that I forgot (and seem to continually forget).  That's why I go to these meetings:  to get advice, suggestions, and essentially, to learn.  It's not supposed to be perfect!  It's a work in progress and we are in the process together.

When I left that meeting, I felt lighter, more confident.  The problem that had been hanging up my writing was no longer mine alone to solve.  I had fresh ideas and wisdom to move me forward.

I can't wait to sit down and rework that chapter with their insights in mind.  I know I can come up with something great.  But I can't do it alone.  I need my group.

I am really lucky to have them.  Thanks, Wordworms!

1 comment:

Morgan said...

That's exactly what critique groups are for. I love them- especially the ones where you're lucky enough to find people who actually want to see you take your writing to the next level. I used to be afraid of sharing my work all the time, but I've had so many helpful critiques I often look forward to it now :)