My 11 week writing class is nearly over. Last week I had the assignment of being first to read a chapter from my novel. Leading up to class, of course I revised it and I thought I had incorporated everything I’d learned in class so far.
Did I hit the mark? Not quite! But I learned a few important things from that nerve wracking experience;
1. Don’t pull this Sara Devine move. It’s the one where I raise my finger and shake it like I’m Bo Jangles, dancing a jig. Ooh, ooh! Teacher lady! Pick me. I’m done with my whole novel, I’ll be the first volunteer! Instead I was the first over zealous guinea pig in the class who should’ve already known that the 2nd and 3rd students are the smart ones who benefit from watching me mess up!
But if being first is unavoidable, try not to worry…
2. Don’t try to escape the critique process. Lying, saying you really have to use the bathroom at that particular moment is not classy. Neither is hiding under the table. Face the critique. Everyone will go through it. Choose to be one who learns from it.
A lengthy, in-depth critique doesn’t mean my work is crap, it just means the teacher is good and I have work to do.
Which leads to the next point I’ve learned…
3. No good writer is an Island. You NEED that critique. You NEED fresh eyes to look over your work. You NEED someone outside of your head, who is willing to dive in and tell you how ridiculous or fabulous it might be.
4. Good writing takes time. It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. That quote is from Ernest Hemingway, folks. If he knew this and worked hard to achieve greatness, then none of us are exempt!
So having said all that, here I am, or rather here is a picture of my computer, as I burn the midnight oil comparing the old and new versions of my novel.
When you’re a mom writing happens at odd hours.
What do you think about these tips? Have you learned something else? Leave me a comment.