Sometimes we writers just need to kick self-doubt in the ass, and yell an exagerated huzzah! It's the little things that bring us all validation. For me it's not normally praise, because let's face it, I'm pretty stingy at sharing my work. I don't worry people won't like it. I worry it's not ready, not perfect enough, not the best I can make it. We all have those moments.
Last night, I participated in my rl writing group. Sadly, I only get to meet with them once a month due to my work schedule. This limits me as a writer. We're allowed to bring no more than five pages to each critique section. It's taken months for me to get anywhere with my novels. So yesterday, after I finished rough editing my latest short story, I decided to take the first five pages of it (it's only at max 20 pages). I also took a complete version just in case I ran out of copies.
One of the members of the group, an elderly veteran who we'll call Frank kept trying to get my attention. Now, the thing about Frank is that he is an extremely fast reader. I'm no slouch, but Frank puts me to shame. The only downside to Frank is that he never write's his critique down.
So, I went through my reading, and critiquing of the four other pieces we had last night, and when I finished Frank was still trying to wave me down. I leaned as close as I could (halfway across the table) and gave Frank my attention without hopefully disturbing the rest of the group. He asked if I had finished the story. I nodded and passed over the remaining fifteen pages.
Unfortunately, before Frank could finish, the rest of the group completed their critiques. So, we all beginning giving the oral section, going over three points we find that stand out most for each piece. The group leader turns to Frank after giving her comment and much to the group's chagrin, he's nose deep in reading! He hadn't heard a thing. He blushed, apologized, and gave his critique, and so went the next three pieces we critiqued. During the last critique on the last piece before mine, I happened to look over at Frank.
I watched him flip my piece back to rights with the biggest grin on his face I've seen in a good while. I've never seen Frank read anything from the group and have that kind of reaction. What's more, I've never seen someone read something of mine and have such a vivid reaction. It moved me in a way that's hard to put words to.
I'm not sharing this to brag, but because it did move me so much. For those of us who don't regularly get to attend groups or haven't had a situation like that, it's hard to fathom how people might react to what we write. For me, I had never considered it actually. I've always just set out to tell the best story I can.
So yes, that's my share for the day, and yes most of the critiques on the piece were very helpful, and gave me lots of warm writer fuzzies!
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