Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Archive for the ‘critique’ Category

May 31, 2015 One Door Closes

Sometimes, it Takes a Good, Swift Knock on the Head

It took someone at my crit group’s none-too-subtle, sotto voce comment today to finally make me realize what I’ve been doing wrong. I have been spending far too much time looking at other peoples’ work instead of focusing on my own. So I came to a rather difficult decision, but one I believe is long overdue. For now, I am going to study and write, not necessarily in that order, and leave it to others to offer suggestions to other people. I’ve learned a lot from the group, but I’m talking too much and listening too little so I’m no longer an asset, either to the group or myself.

My intention is not to run away forever. I simply need to re-evaluate my priorities and, most importantly, work on writing, editing and revising my own efforts. Even the blogging for others could possibly take a back seat for awhile, partially because I’m feeling discouraged with how long it takes me to write what will be, if anything, an $8 post, and partially because I just haven’t worked up the courage or the confidence to pitch to strangers. I even got turned down when I offered editing/proof reading services free of charge to someone who really needs it! (I subscribe to a newsletter which is always filled with misspellings and incorrect word usage. It has now filtered into the site’s blog posts and social media posts which makes the writer in my cringe.)

Suffice it to say that between the subtle put down which for some stupid reason had me a little teary-eyed once I was alone and the fact that I can’t even seem to give away my services, it’s time for me to crawl back into my hermit hole for awhile. I even went so far as to do some minor revisions on the memoir I had decided to fictionalize. If that’s not spinning my wheels in the wrong direction, I don’t know what is!

Avoiding the Pity Party Train

I am not one to sit and feel sorry for myself. It accomplishes nothing, makes you unpleasant to be around and is the most unproductive life form on the planet. It all comes down to the advice I gave my daughter recently, and myself almost daily: Don’t focus on the things you have not accomplished. Instead, congratulate yourself on the things you have. Even if the only things I’ve managed to do are to get up, make the bed and brush my teeth, at least I didn’t spend the day in bed feeling sorry for myself.

So this is me, pulling myself up by my bootstraps (which is a real trick considering my feet are bare), accepting the constructive criticism, regardless of how it was delivered, altering my routine again, taking the lessons and moving on.

I think it’s fitting that this comes as we are changing months because it’s as if I’m starting the month of June with a bright, clean, white piece of paper in front of me and a handful of colored pens so the picture I paint will be as bright and shiny as I could possible want. Doing so alone means that I don’t have to listen to anyone complaining about me coloring outside the lines or painting my picture in a way which might offend their sensibilities. I promise I will be as courteous about their creations.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for lessons, no matter what kind of package they might come in.
2. I am grateful for beginnings, for hiatuses and even for endings. They all serve their own purpose.
3. I am grateful for failures as they make the successes that much sweeter and teach me what is working and what is not.
4. I am grateful for the successes of my friends and colleagues. They’ve all worked hard and deserve those moments in the spotlight.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, setbacks, challenges, journeys, love, friendship, joy, heart breaks and heart heals, peace, harmony, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

September 29, 2014 New experiences

New experiences will make me a better writer.

In my continuing quest to not only make myself a better writer but to make myself write more, I tried something new again tonight. I joined a group which calls itself “Shut up and write”. The premise behind it is that everyone shows up at a specified place and time, chats a bit, then writes for an hour. Afterward, it seems, they just go on their merry way. The one person who was there tonight was rather lovely, but during our pre-writing conversation confirmed impressions I’d had about a previous foray into new experiences.

I had doubts about being able to accomplish anything with all of the people around and the loud music, but I’m willing to try anything once. I came armed with an idea for a short story to contribute to a pre-Halloween horror story campfire a friend and fellow writer is hosting. At the end of the hour, I had over 800 words, and felt I’d completed the first draft of the story! Somewhere along the way, I just tuned out everything around me and was completely focused on the tale I was trying to weave. In short, when I gave my subconscious the go-ahead, it took me write to that zone in which I write so abundantly.

Re-reading it when I got home, it definitely needs work, but I got the basic idea down and can work on the details in the next couple of weeks. Overall, this one will be an experience I’ll definitely repeat.

Practice makes perfect, so writers must write…and write…and write…

I know I have to add a lot of things to my repertoire in order to improve my craft. Finding a good group with whom to share the critiquing process is high up on that list. However, first and foremost, I must write and write prolifically. It may seem that the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve blogged, the nearly 100,000 words (more actually if you count recent revisions) I’ve written for my novel, not to mention another 30,000 or so on other creative projects would be considered prolific. But as far as writers go, I’d venture to guess that’s just a drop in the bucket. Ultimately, I’ll be counting the words I’ve penned (typed just doesn’t sound the same, does it?) in the millions at least. But I’ll never get there if I don’t start writing a lot more than I’ve been lately! I’ve fallen off the wagon, writing-wise and penned very little other than the everlasting gobstopper of a first novel.

If dreams are any indication, my imagination is positively chomping at the bit to get ideas on paper.

The vividness and detail of my dreams has been escalating for the last few months until now, I have several highly entertaining dreams every, single night. I really do need to put a tape recorder next to my bed! Story ideas are simply tripping over each other in a mad rush to be heard, their real goal, for me to remember and commit them to some permanent medium. Too many are gone by the time I finally drag myself out of bed in the morning.

Speaking of dragging myself from bed, I had an epiphany of sorts this morning. I had to be up early to get to a doctor’s appointment. As I went through my forgotten routine of rising and heading straight for the shower, I didn’t think much of it, but just let muscle memory guide me through the normal tasks. As I dressed before making my way to the kitchen to dish up everyone’s daily dose of wet food, an errant thought popped into my head which I think must be heeded.

This thought, this tiny little voice, said to me: “This getting into the shower as soon as I get up routine feels pretty good! I’m clean, my contacts are in…I’m ready to face the day, before coffee!” As the shock wore off, I realized that, like the pan full of the week’s dinner and the pre-made salads, some parts of my old, work-a-day routine actually worked for me! In fact, I am finding that I missed some of that structure!

Even more, I think that lack of structure is what has been keeping me from writing as I should. It’s been keeping me from finishing the copywriting course, and it’s been keeping me from becoming the Author I need to become! How’s that for a serious “Aha moment”???

Slowly but surely, I am reacquainting myself with routine. Slowly but surely, I’m leaving the house on almost a daily basis for one thing or another. In so doing, I realize that I was not following that immortal guidance: Get up. Dress up. Show up. Even if showing up just means sitting down at my computer and writing instead of playing a game or surfing the net. Someone has to set some expectations, and as I look around, the only one in my life who can do that now is me!

High on my list of expectations is to try new things until I find what works best. But also high on that list is to get myself into healthy, productive routines which move me further and faster on the path I’ve set for myself. Motivation is a wonderful thing!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for “Aha Moments”.
2. I am grateful for new people who help me learn more about my craft.
3. I am grateful for challenges from friends which make me step further out of my comfort zone.
4. I am grateful for today’s productivity, and look forward to even more tomorrow.
5. I am grateful for abundance: motivation, imagination, dedication, time maximization, new experiences, harmony, peace, love, health and prosperity.


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