A turtle is safe in it's mobile home. Are we turtles? Do we hide our writing?
"I don't want anyone to see my work in progress."
"My story is pretty good just how it is."
"I don't need critiques."
Have you ever heard any of these before? Have you ever said or thought one or more of these yourself?
Those statements are fear, false, and full of pride. Our stories may be great but sometimes we miss connecting with the reader. In our mind we have the whole story and understand everything so assume the reader will too. But are we really showing all that we feel in the written version of the story. A fresh eye, or many fresh eyes are invaluable. We need to stick our head and neck out of the safety of our turtle shells.
Being critiqued, as you know, is a humbling experience. Sometimes we have a tough shell and others times our shell is so soft it hurts to the core. I try to listen with an open mind, jot down comments and review them later when I can remove my shell --- pride --- and be objective. Then I know which comments to address and which ones to toss.
In my writing class, Dr. Goodfellow pounds us with: "How did he feel?" and "Show the story, don't tell the story." I have been studying with her for two and a half years. I work hard at showing, and including what the character feels, yet the red marks continue. I sometimes come home frustrated that my classmates just didn't get it. After I let it sit a day or two then go back to it, I realize that I did not write what I saw and felt in my mind and heart. My classmates cannot read my mind even though they know me, so how is a stranger going to get it?
I believe in myself. I believe I can write and I believe I can improve everyday. I believe in you. If we have the desire to tell a story, we have to be willing to go the distance, and that includes climbing out of our hard, defensive shell. This can be painful, but it is necessary for our stories to be their best and for us to grow.
I think I will reread this after my next critque session.