Thursday, 13 June 2013

The shame, the shame...

Before I joined the online critique group Critique Circle I thought my writing was good. There, I said it. But that was in the days when I still considered writing to be  'my guilty little secret'. Back then, no one even knew I wrote, let alone got to read any of it. Fortunately for them!

CC has showed me the true error of my ways. Critters of all kinds (The good, bad, and ugly!) have collectively beaten me with their clue sticks and forced me to confront my writing's true awfulness. With time and regular beatings, I've got better. MUCH better. Yes, I was that bad.

So why do I now feel like I'm the crappiest writer in the world? Is it a case of 'the more I know, the less I realise I know'?

My ignorant days really were blissful. I used to scribble away quite happily--my ego the size of a small moon, unmolested by self-doubt. These days, my ego is roughly the size of a pea--a pea that's fallen to the floor and remained undiscovered for several months.

Why is knowledge like getting a stronger prescription of spectacles? And as I learn even more about writing, will I eventually throw up my hands in despair and abandon it forever when I once again fall short of my idea of perfection?

I was much happier when I knew nothing.


  1. Hmmm, Nicola. I hope you’re getting encouragement, too. When your writing was your own little secret, you didn’t have fans either … and now you do.

    I love CC, and get tons out of it, BUT some things you have to take with a grain of salt. Sometimes I get lectures, or “free lessons on how to write” (If I ever have the audacity to tell someone ‘You have lots to learn, so I’ll help you out. Consider this a free writing lesson’ and my name is not Nabokov or Tolstoy or Austen, feel free to club me over the head : ) ) , or critique partners who rewrite entire paragraphs and I find myself amazed that – while it may even be good writing – my work is now unrecognizable to me.

    BUT I also love where sharp eyes see things I’ve grown too blind to see, where characters are too wooden on the page, where actions or events aren’t clear, where writing is sloppy, and where I need to roll up my sleeves and get back to work.

    I do believe it’s a process that helps us to improve… AND I wait for your story each week. So please take the worst advice with a grain of salt and keep writing. Your story – and writing – are good, and this is a taste of what’s to come. Once your book is ‘out there’ in the public domain, you’ll get lots of people who will be vocal about how much they don’t like your work… so take this time to develop that thick hide. Keep writing, Nicola! I’m waiting…

  2. Thanks, Kimberly. :)

    I haven't had any hard crits lately, hon. This post comes from deep within me. I really am my toughest critter. I doubt anyone could be tougher on me than I am. :)

    Do you ever have those days where you re-read what you've written and cringe? (I doubt it. You write too well!) I do. Frequently.

    (Btw, if I ever re-write anything of yours, you do know it's only to illustrate what I can't properly explain, right? My examples are only ever meant to help fire up your own creative juices.:) )

    Oh, I get those 're-write' crits too. 1,000 word make-over crits that change 'the voice' of the story completely. To be honest, they don't irritate me at all. Whatever I think of the contents of the crit, I appreciate that it must've taken someone a long time to write it. And there's usually something I can use. I'm just grateful someone cared enough to show me the error of my ways--even when I don't agree with 'em! :)

    Martha back on Wednesday...if I get it transcribed in time. Eek!

  3. Okay, Nicola... glad it's not in reaction to tough words. And of course we all have those moments, but I think they're good because they spur us on. Waiting for Martha, my dear!


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