I made a promise five years ago to my professor. I swore that I would never kill the dreams of another person. So far, I haven’t. But let me tell you how hard that can be.
I work with a group of writes. We read, critique, and share ideas with one another. Sometimes…we are AwEsOmE together and other times we can barely sit in the same space. You know…cuz, we be emotional writers and stuff. My problem is- I can not be completely honest with some. There are amazing people that sit at that table who have superior skills. There are some who need a bit of polish and then there are those who need to rethink the idea of writing. Or- at least- listen to the critiques offered. You have to have a thick skin in the arena. People will pick you apart in a heartbeat if your work isn’t perfect and that’s why critique groups are so helpful. I would rather have people I trust pick at each scene, chapter, and line than have a stranger catch a flaw and tear apart my work for it.
So, how do you get someone to see we are trying to help? Critiques can be brutal if you are completely honest. It can sting when someone says your chapter sucked and the plot wouldn’t work even if Stephen King wrote it. Yeah, OUCH! But, what if what we are saying is true? What if the story truly needs help and we want to help, but they refuse to listen? My concern is that others in the group are ticked. They take the time to read, critique and share their thoughts and this person disregards their help and tells the group he already fixed everything and moved on. If they fixed it then why did they send it to the group to be read?
Do I discuss their actions with them, with the group, or just ask them to leave? I have limited the size of our group so that we have time to help one another. I have others who are interested in joining but due to the limited space, they can’t. I’m stuck between a rock and another big ass rock.
These amazing people have helped me in innumerable ways. My skill has improved. My ideas are cleaner and I am learning from their insights. I want this group to stay intact. I want it to work and fear that if I push this one person they will leave the group and take others with them.
Oh, Great Internet of Awesome People, who are reading this whine-fest. Help me. What should it do? Should I just hide under a rock and hope it all fixes its self? Can I? That sounds like a good idea.
Help me help this group who wants to help the writers that sit around this table. I need to be strong enough to stand before them and help…right? I have to go…right?
I don’t wanna go.
As always friends…
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Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.