Everyone who creates, whether it be writing or other art forms such as painting, dancing, singing, etc. has stood at that huge wall of “What do you think?” And waited for strangers, who had no part in your creation, to give an opinion. And this is after we have edited, criticized, and revised every word ourselves. Sometimes we think “Enough is enough!” But then, with all the courage we can muster, we send our words out in the world to fend for themselves.
For a number of years I coached a competitive creative writing team in Ohio called Power of the Pen. Students in grades 7 and 8 practiced writing to prompts and completing a story in about 40 minutes that would then be judged and ranked. My job as coach was to (1) teach them writing skills, and (2) give them the courage to let someone judge it. The kids trembled in their boots … at first.
One of my writers used her experience in Power of the Pen as her college essay. In part she wrote, “Junior High passed with ribbons and trophies. I made it to state level competition. I shook the whole way there in Mrs. Furlong’s minivan until she said, ‘Just go in there and give it your best, kiddo. You and I already know you’re a brilliant writer,’ and a few minutes later I noticed my knee had stopped bouncing.”
I am starting to get reviews for Steadfast Will I Be on the Amazon website. So far, they have all been good with the key words being “so far.” A not-so-great review will wound my heart, but it won’t break me. I wrote my best drafts. I edited it repeatedly myself and then edited again with the help of my editor. I enjoyed the entire process, hard work and all. I will love the story, in the same way I love my children, no matter what anybody else says.
The bottom line is that Steadfast Will I Be, and whatever else I write, is mine, nobody else’s. I gave it my best, kiddo!
What experiences have you had with criticism?
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