Yesterday I met up with another NaNoWriMo writer to discuss building a community of writers. We have this vision of the craziness of NaNoWriMo being carried throughout the year. We are hoping to create some meet ups to help with education, community and improving our work.
One of the ways we spoke about is critique. My suggestion of reading work out loud for critique created a visceral reaction during my meeting. It reminded me that fear is the thing that keeps us stuck.
Critique is one of those things that I have both craved and feared the entire time I’ve been writing. As with many writers, I crave that affirmation that feedback often gives. Unfortunately, along with the good feelings comes the bad when critique is given.
Too often we focus on the problems in our writing as with our lives, giving into the fears: “I can’t do that,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I should just quit.” I know I’ve said these things to myself many times.
And I’m not the only one.
I’m going to give you the secret I have discovered and, mostly, believe whenever I am confronted with my own fears:
“The best way out is always through.” Robert Frost
This may seem a bit counterintuitive but I have found that whatever I was dealing with that caused my fear to spike was never as bad as I thought it was going to be. The term “just do it” from Nike comes to mind.
Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t dissolve into my fears and let them paralyze me for a time. No, I generally have to take some time to work through my fears. As I’ve done this I’ve discovered I have fewer fears all together. I often surprise myself.
Reading my work out loud always cause me to have butterflies in my stomach and my inner critic to come out. I am nearly always glad when I am finished and I get some suggestions. Not that all of them are good nor are they all bad, I still have the choice to follow. I am just given more to think about. My work is always better for having done this.
How do you deal with your fears about your work, whether it is writing or something else?