*sets coffee cup on the table and scoots chair a bit closer*
Today we’re having a bit more of a relaxed blog post, more of a chat about what’s happening in my writing life at the moment, and what I’m learning through it.
I’m a student of the Author Conservatory, and in the second year of the program, we’re to write a novella, teaming up in a critique group to make it one of the strongest stories we’ve ever told. And this month, it’s been my month to have my story critiqued.
And goodness, has it taught me a lot.
I edited it quickly before I sent it to my lovely critique partners, and I was so nervous. I’ve had stories critiqued before multiple times, and if anything, it’s taught me I’m not as good at writing as I like to think. I also have this strange thing I do, where I try and do the hardest thing I can think of for my writing. Each story, I try to write in a way I’ve never done before, simply because I think it’s entertaining.
Which also means I have no confidence of my skills when it comes the book I’m currently writing or editing.
To add to my lack of confidence, I was terrified because usually I have my books edited by friends or people I have some type of respect and understanding with. This was not the case for the Critique Group. I knew OF these people, but I’ve never really had a one-on-one conversation with them before.
Now they’re telling me everything about my book, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
My writing confidence has fallen rather low over the last few books I’ve written. It’s not that they’re bad, I’ve just become painfully aware of everything I’m lacking in my writing. I have this unfounded fear that everyone will look at my writing and say, “Wow, I can tell she’s never written a story in her life.”
And there goes the past six years of my life.
So needless to say, when I sent in my book, I was expecting it to be the hardest and worst book they’ve read so far. But that’s far from what happened.
These lovely people have made every day better for me. I look forward to opening my inbox and finding the comments they’ve left on my story, because their comments make me laugh. Is there some critique? Of course there is! But there’s so much more encouragement. And I can’t say if that’s because I just got extra lucky in my critique partners, or if that’s because my book is actually that great. (I’d be willing to bet it’s the former.)
So what have I learned so far from this experience?
Things are usually worse in my head.
This has actually been an ongoing lesson for me in my life. My brain is one of the most negative places, constantly telling me how I’ll singlehandedly ruin my world, my career, and any chances I have at making friends. I’ve gotten better at dealing with these fears, and it helps when life proves my fears wrong.
Take driving for example. I’m a “good” driver. I’ve yet to be honked at, I stay safe, and I make sure to follow the etiquette of the road. But I’m horrible at backing out of my driveway. Now, my driveway does have three other cars in it, a row of bushes, and a lot of uneven cement. But still, I’m not good at backing out of my driveway.
Because of that, every time I’ve gotten in the car over the past week, I’ve been incredibly anxious. My brain keeps telling me that I’m becoming a progressively worse driver with each turn I take, and I’m one turn away from sudden death or losing my car. Which would really suck.
In order for me to overcome this, to overcome how much worse life is in my brain, I have to do three things.
- know the truth.
- speak the truth.
- have people speaking the truth into my life.
You might not be struggling with writing or struggling with driving. This post might just blow right past you. That’s fine, but this can be applied to any life struggle.
My critique group are the people who are speaking truth into my writing life, and I am so thankful for them. And I have quite a few awesome people who are speaking truth into my daily life.
Find people to speak truth in your life.
Your life will be so much better for it. Not because you’re hearing how wonderful you are every day, but because you’re being told the truth. And the truth is what will set us free and apart in this life.
So to end this post, I will simply say that this Critique Group will be kept fondly in my memories. The lessons they’re helping teach me and reinforcing in my life are invaluable and much needed.
What lessons are you learning in your life right now?
All the hearts,