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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Eureka! (and an epiphany)

Yes, 'tis true. As expected, I've come up with the black moment and HEA for "Nobody's Darling." The rest, as they say, is gravy. I'm hoping to finish the first draft by the middle of next week, time permitting. Then I'll play around with other responsibilities before working on revisions. I'd love to have a final draft by the end of the month, though I realize that's a little ambitious. Still, anything's possible.

On to the Epiphany: while reworking this story, I came to an inevitable conclusion. Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy.

As I explained in my previous post, I actually started this story a long time ago. I then got 200 pages into it, lost the spark, and scrapped it. I thought it was Gertrude's whims that caused this sudden ennui. But Gertrude set me straight over the last few days. When I think about it honestly, I realize the fault lies with my relying too heavily on critiques.

When I first wrote this story, I belonged to several critique groups. (I've since cut down to two.) One in particular, is extremely tough. (And if any RWUers are reading this, I'm not talking about you! The critiques I receive at RWU are top-notch: 100% encouraging, informative, and skilled--I think that's 300%, but who cares? If you're looking for the very best critique group, you'll find it at RWU.) The group I'm talking about is the one I own, the CritWits. I love these ladies dearly, but when it comes to critiques, they don't pull their punches. Many times, they're absolutely right. But it's important to remember, no matter who your critique partners are, they are NOT infallible!

In this particular case, I let their negative comments outweigh my belief in my talent and that left me frozen, unable to finish this work. Now that I've realized my error, I've not only corrected it, I feel free to let this story come to its natural conclusion. How liberating!

Will I make this mistake again in the future? Probably. I think one of the things that makes a good writer is the constant need for reassurance. But it's rough on the psyche, that's for sure! So whether you just received a negative critique or your fifth rejection letter or a bad review on your latest published work, don't let others' negativity affect you negatively. Let it slide off your back and move on. Believe in yourself and let the words flow!
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