I think that when someone hears a person say, “I’m a writer” they think of someone punching words into a word processor via a keyboard, or the more romantic might think of an industrious individual laboring over reams of paper with a pile of wadded up failures next to them on the floor.
Writing involves more than that, as I am rapidly discovering. Online research. Learning techniques. Ferreting out your strengths and weakness. Dealing with your own uncertainties and reservations… and much more.
I’ve always been considered intelligent, but if there was ever a poster child for ADD, it’s me. The great thing about writing is that I can write when I please, get tired, and quit until it next pleases me. That also works with having kids, and life issues. I carry my iPhone all the time in order to record any ideas I might have so they won’t be lost.
I also found a group of like minded individuals who also either desire to be published or already have. Encouragement from others who share your dreams as well as their honest opinions about where you are weak is critical to your success. Your Mom will tell you that your writing is fabulous even if it is second grade material. Your friends might do the same. But your critique group? When you hand over your drafts expect to get them back well marked.
I’ve seen that happen to people, they fluff up and act like you’ve offended them, the greatest writer the planet has ever seen or will see. How DARE you not absolutely adore their generosity at allowing you to be graced with their written word? How DARE you submit that their plot might be weak or their character boring? Some people will make excuses for why they get a critique they don’t like. You’re just jealous. You wouldn’t know good writing if it bit you on the rear. You’re a dolt, a simpleton, a pretender.
I try not to laugh when that type of thing happens, but inside I’m a 12 year old boy, so I let slip the occasional giggle. I laugh at people behaving badly at times, and I think fart jokes are funny too.
No, you had best be thick skinned if you seek out a writers group to critique you. The key is to find the people within that group who give you constructive honest input. Use the hell out of those people, without wearing either their generosity or your friendship thin if you can. I try not to be a pest, but I’d love to have some of these people on 24 hour retainer to critique my efforts. But they have lives too. Why can’t the universe be all about me?
I meet with my writers group tonight. I will try to pass back the help to others that some have offered me. With that in mind, I will not get to writing about orbital mechanics today, unless it’s very late. I hope to share that with you soon.