Writers Group Woes

I appear to be on the mend.  I had some trouble sleeping last night, but it was only partially due to the coughing and sniffling.  The plague seems to be receding.  I may even be healthy by tomorrow morning, just in time for another woefully busy Monday.

Part of what kept me up last night was my thoughts, tumbling over and over thanks to the writers group I attended last night.  There weren’t that many people, and I felt unprepared.  I hadn’t received the other writers’ work until a couple of hours before we were to meet, so I didn’t have a chance to read and prepare a decent critique.  The other writers, on the other hand, had read the start of my novel, and had plenty to say.

They weren’t necessarily mean.  In fact, none of what they had to say was mean, and none of it was a surprise.  They were just shining a bright light onto my work, and I wasn’t quite prepared for the scrutiny.

I know that my novel is really rough right now.  I’ve been trying not to go back and edit it until the whole first draft is done.  On the plane back from San Antonio a few weeks ago, I tried a compromise where instead of editing stuff, I added comments into the document.

Much of what the writers in the group had to say I’d already said in my comments.  It really shouldn’t have bothered me.  It did, though, as much as I tried not to be bothered.  I know that it’s not done.  I know that I’m going to redo quite a bit of the beginning, once I get to the end.  In spite of that, I tossed and turned last night, unable to let it go and rest.

This is a big step for me.  My confidence in my work has been spotty at best.  One of the things I’m trying to learn with this writer’s group is how to maintain my confidence in spite of criticism.  I’m also trying to improve my craft in general while offering my own insights.  The real challenge, however, will be getting over the problems with my writing, so that I can keep going.  I don’t want to hit a point where I hate my work and stop writing again.

Maybe next time we meet, I’ll be in better health, and I’ll be better able to handle people looking at my writing under a microscope.