Get out of your own way. You are your own worst enemy on the path to improvement.
I’ve received an amazing reality check to my pride. The best part was that I didn’t expect it. Last month in my grab bag post (link HERE), I spoke on wanting feedback from my family and friends on the short story that I was preparing for an upcoming writing competition (the deadline is the thirtieth of this month. UGH!). For the last few weeks, I’ve been passing it around, giving all who want to a chance to give me their honest critique. It’s been a good experience overall. I’ve been hit with both positive and negative inflection, most of it being useful. But last night was by far the most direct; and if I approached the situation with a glass half empty approach, then I would’ve missed an even more important lesson.
I shouldn’t even need to say this but it’s one thing to live with your writing for extended period of time. It’s another to let it out of that metaphorical cage to be free in the wild; and it was free to what I would consider my final line of critics. Friends who are well versed in editing and story structure. I literally had what I wrote on a large fifty inch screen for all of them to see. There was a lot to fix. Much more than I even thought there would be.
I’m not ashamed to say that for a brief moment I felt defensive. From their perspective, there was a myriad of things that could be tweaked or outright removed, one of the examples being a very annoying thing where I kept listing the full name of the father character even when it wasn’t needed. Once I got out of my own head and listened to what they were saying, I realized how needed it was.
Always keep people around you who won’t sugarcoat the truth when you need to hear it. In any aspect of life, there will come a time when you just need to sit back seek the counsel of others. No one gets through it all alone. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you put yourself on the path to accessing your potential.
Here’s to polishing my short story for submission by September 30th.
Until next time.