When I decided to do a complete rewrite of my one and only novel[unfinished of course], I had no idea of how it could mutate into such a surly void. When it happened, I thought I only had two options on how the handle it. I could just toss the entire WiP into the perpetual desk drawer never to see the light of day again or… The other option was to keep on trudging along in the muck of my WiP.
Then, my brain started to calculate outside the box. Something I haven’t done for a while. I knew I needed help but with finances being so tight, I had to come up with something I could exchange for what I needed. I scouted some of the online critique groups hoping giving a critique in exchange for receiving one would work. Ineptly, that type of setup just wasn’t going to work for me. I didn’t and still don’t feel comfortable showing my crud of a WiP to people who are going to remain more or less unknown to me. I need people who are going to be acquaintances with me at least. Also, I didn’t want my WiP to be up on the internet for just anyone to read for the same reason.
I haphazardly slid off the internet, surrendering myself to the battle of working on the manuscript without any support or encouragement. I found all sorts of ways to procrastinate. There was the forever ending chores of housecleaning, checking up on our three indoor cats, making sure to call my mom often enough who is 92. All legitimate excuses but excuses nonetheless.
Approximately two weeks ago, Janice Hardy announced her once-a-year sign-up for her critique group at Yahoo. After reading her message, I left it right where it was. I needed to do some deliberation on this idea of being in a critique group. I belong to two online writers’ groups where I can get all sorts of feedback about my writing. Yet, I always feel a little apprehensive putting my work in either of their queues.
Finally I went back to the email Janice had sent and clicked on the link. Janice has set her group up as a register of critique groups and individuals looking for critique partners. The thought of having a critique partner was something I hadn’t considered and it did appealing to me. I had a writing buddy for a couple of years but my buddy had some personal issues she desperately needed to deal with. We lost our inner connection in the process. The notion of having a comradeship centered on WiPs again was persuasive. Needless to say, I dropped my name in the hat.
Right now I have two partners I swap WiP chapters/scenes with. We’re still a little awkward together but I’m sure that will work itself out as we delve into each others manuscripts to discover where the mistakes and difficulties are.
So far, I appear to be the one less skilled. Does it bother me? Yes, a little but if I’m going to learn more, I need to suck it in and take their advice to heart.
Learning is a struggle but, at the end of the day, it is definitely worthwhile.