Times of pain in writing are often followed by periods of growth. I’ve been experiencing writing pain in that I know something is wrong, but I don’t get what that is or how to fix it. Critiquing a lot can help, having my own stories critiqued as well, but that last is based on the attention of the person providing feedback.
I had the pleasure of participating in a special critique in which critiquers read about 20 thousand words of my writing across 9 stories: a spectrum from which to make observations about my writing.
Waiting for the feedback was terrifying. With that much ammunition, someone would surely cut me to pieces, except that I trust my writing group. No one would do that. It was more a question of was I ready to hear what they had to say? Hell yes.
I’m bursting with happiness that they provided me problems that were within my ability to learn to fix. My writing is flawed but not hopeless. (We all fear we’re hopeless, don’t we?) So deep was this feedback on so many levels, I’m rereading my previously written stories and cringing. Why? Not because I’ve sent these out to countless editors – it’s their job to read writer’s crap and send rejections, sometimes guiding us along the way – but it’s that I have so much work to do. I see what needs to be done and I don’t have enough time. How am I supposed to handle this? I’m going to have to prioritize.
I’m itching to work on longer pieces, a novella, maybe a novel, but I have so many short stories I want to share that need revising before I submit them. This is one of the hardest things: which project is next? I’ll work through this issue on my own, no worries. 😉 I’ll get to the short stories and the novella and the novel. It’ll just take a while.
In the meantime, what about you? Have you learned anything new about your work/hobby/passion? Did someone help you or did you push through to this new level on your own?
Hooray! Glad you got a lot out of the exercise!
I don’t know if I have the courage to read through everyone telling me over and over what my own blind spots are. I’m sure I have them, but judging from my reaction when I get personal feedback from editors, I may not have your level of emotional maturity. 🙂
We all learn differently. I’ve been reaching out to every source imaginable (and affordable). Sometimes feedback does sting – but that’s when I tuck it aside and look at it later. it did take me a few weeks to really go over my feedback, melding it into something that isn’t overwhelming. It really helped that feedback trickled in rather than getting dumped on me all at once.