Monday, June 11, 2012

Author Blog Challenge - No Pain, No Gain?

My writing has not been critiqued (directly to me, that is) since college.  And that was a longgggggggggg time ago.  Sometime in the last century.  We won't mention which decade but there was a "7" in the number.

With the 9 month flood anniversary here in upstate NY having to be commemorated and my normal Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday theme days begging for attention, I haven't followed the prompts very much this week.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention to the quality of writing in this Challenge. Now, it is time to return to this Challenge.

Today's Author Blog Challenge prompt is:  "Have you participated in a critique groups?  If so, how did it work out for you?  If not, why have you avoided them to this point?"

The short answer is "No, I never have.  Don't know if I ever will."

I could have given you a lot of answers for the "why" but a blog post written by Tor Canstantino (not part of this challenge but his writings are well worth reading, in my humble opinion) finally explained why.  His post, The One Trait Every Writer Needs, created one of those "a-ha!" moments for me.

Tor wrote "..most creatives write from their hearts, losses or experiences – the words are inseparable from the author."  That is so true for me.

At this point in time I could not appear before a group, carrying my heart-I mean, my writing- and having people examine it.  Even if they found my writing was the greatest ever (no chance of that) the stress of the experience would be too much for me to bear.

I'm not even sure I could hire someone to do it for me privately.  Or have someone in the Challenge (if they offered) do that for me.  Not now.   Not yet.

But, I think I am beginning to realize that "no pain, no gain" is more than a cliche about exercise.

The encouragement I've received from fellow bloggers is like sunshine on the leaves of a green plant, to be sure.  But encouragement doesn't teach in the same way as a helpful critique.   One day, I must prepare to face that I must seek an unbiased opinion out if I want to continue my growth as a writer.  But first, I need to grow a very thick hide.  So, how do I do that?

Nothing worth doing is easy, is it?

Fellow readers and writers, what do you think? 

No critique pain, no gain?


  1. I know the feeling, was very nervous when I first started handling my stories our for people to read. Sometimes you just have to go with it. Kids are the best critics, they are so honest, I figure even if my stories aren't the best if the kids that read them love them, then it's all good. Take the plundge, it is also the only way to improve yourself as a writer.

    1. Thank you for my encouragement. My son is 22, but using children as critics - I like that.

  2. Like most anything else, you just have to do it. Jump in the deep end, if you will. It will be hard at first, but it gets easier. And you'll be amazed at how special it will become to give your writing and your heart to others. If they don't appreciate it and treat it with care, then find people who do.

    'Rejecting the writing is a rejection of the writer.' I understand this. But it's very different than helping someone unearth their voice and make it as lovely as possible.

    1. I like the way you look at this process. It still scares me to death, though! I hope continuing with this challenge will help me build my courage to take this next step. Right now it seems like trying to leap over a mile wide canyon.

  3. When you cross that bridge, my dear, do so with a critic that will be gentle but firm. One who does not attack but who guides your thoughts. My best advice :) WRITE ON!

    1. Thank you! (Now I need to start growing that thick skin. And then I need to find a good critic.)

  4. What? We are suppose to think about what you write?

  5. Welcome back, JC Winnie. It is so great to have you back where you belong.

  6. So much of what you said hit home with me. First, it is hard to separate an author from his/her words, especially with some pieces. I wrote a mother/daughter tell with my mother. Tough one! But I also truly believe you benefit more from people willing to push you and offer advice than the ones that tell you what a wonderful job you did. It's all about finding a balance between helpful advice from a person you know means you well.

    As always, I love stopping by! Hugs.


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