Also, one isn't supposed to talk about oneself. I've been a little better about avoiding the "I" word.
Today, I'm going to talk about yesterday. My yesterday. It's dangerous. Also because yesterday was a rather negative experience. So that's me and negativity. If you want to run screaming, do it now.
Criticism is a much needed tool in striving for betterment. We've discussed that critique groups and giving your work to reliable sources can make you see things that you couldn't on your own. We know that a necessary part of revision is hearing that your work is imperfect.
Yesterday, my first 250 pages were critiqued by an agent. Pretty awesome stuff, actually. I'm eternally grateful for the criticism, as well as the suggestions. I don't want to make it sound like this was a negative experience, because it was not. These precious words could be the difference between another agent passing over my work and choosing it. This could be the turning point!
But it also humbled me, and yes, it hurt a little. I don't know if you other writers have trouble keeping both feet on the ground, but sometimes I think I'm awesome. My weekly critique group helps me with that, of course. But lately, I've been bringing stuff that's worked for the group. So I haven't gotten my bittersweet injection of, "Yeah... you have some work to do".
I've discussed the personality of the writer many times. It changes from person to person, of course. But I think the very nature inherent to our species sometimes has trouble not putting walls up, especially when we've been hit. These humbling moments need to be treated as humbling moments, not personal attacks. Our tender little egos need to take non-praise like medicine. Doesn't taste good going down, but cures what ails you.
|A loss in battle could become a victory in war.|
When I awoke this morning, I wanted to put all kinds of walls up. I wanted to retire to my corner and huddle in a ball. I wanted to bury myself in my yards of hair, extending a claw-like hand if anybody came near.
There's no point to this behavior, of course. Okay, I've been hit. Somebody ran by and clipped me below the knees. It happens, sometimes in every wake of life. Career, love, bills, friendship, dreams... we just can't catch a blasted break. That was me yesterday. Despite a much needed gathering around a hookah, I had that weighing feeling of about half a dozen things that were bringing me down. Things I was failing at. Various avenues life was using to reject me.
But now is the time to recognize our shortcomings, analyze why we've been rejected (even if it's for the thousandth time and you're about ready to plunk down with a bottle of whiskey and tell everyone to expletive the expletive), and see these low moments as stepping stones wrought with failure that shall only lead to success.
That feeling of raw vulnerability is a hard one. Throwing yourself out on the line is never easy, and we aspiring writers have to do it all of the time.
I feel your pain, as I'm sure you feel mine. If life's a war, then some battles will be lost. We'll come limping back to the tents bleeding and bruised, maybe even with a few broken bones and exhaustion that makes it nearly impossible to run back out there and join the crossfire.
But that's exactly how successes become successes. Wrap that arm, make a tourniquet, stop the bleeding, and get your butt back out on the battlefield.