Wednesday, January 5, 2022

IWSG January 2022 - Regrets & Rebirth

 This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for January 2022.



Alex's awesome co-hosts this month
 are: 

 Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, 
Please stop by their blogs and say thank you

💻💻💻💻💻


There's a lot to be excited about. Not only is it the first post of a brand-spankin' new year, it's the day IWSG announces the winners of the 7th annual Anthology Contest!

My writer friends have been on me for years to submit a story, and - since this contest's genre was romance - I finally did. I'm looking forward to the big reveal.

January 5th question: What's one thing about your writing career that you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

Wow. This is one of those lay-it-bare-for-everyone-to-see things, huh? Well...okay.

The first thing that popped into my head was 'not making more time to write and not putting more effort toward my business' (street team, newsletter, marketing, etc.), but I had legitimate reasons for my failures, most of the time. And there's a far worse confession than that.

I went through a phase, when I was first learning to write and learning the rules of fiction, that I became a very... intense critique partner. I was too harsh, and I marked way more than I should in the way of suggestions. So much so that it infringed on the writer's voice and drove my CPs crazy. (I've since figured out that if I feel the need to completely re-write a CP's story, either they're a complete novice, or we're not a good fit.) After receiving a few harsh critiques myself and realizing the need to dial everything back, I've changed.

Now if I make a suggestion, I make sure there's a rule-based reason why - POV error, passive voice, word overuse, a need for tighter writing - not just my personal preference. I make a point of softening what I say when I mention a problem, and I also take time to make positive comments when I see things the author did well. 

Processing a critique is an excruciating rollercoaster ride. We writers need hills to bring us back out of the valleys. I make sure to give my CPs that balance, and I end my critiques on a high note with an encouraging paragraph or two.

Thanks for visiting.

❤❤❤❤❤

IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering  support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link above. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list


30 comments:

  1. Hi and Happy New Year,
    I have to admit that it was writers who critiqued like you mentioned above that I had to learn to avoid, and I am happy that you changed.
    Wishing you all the best for 2022 and congratulations on being a winner in the Romance Anthology for the IWSG.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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  2. Congrats on being a winner in the anthology contest! So excited for you. I had a super critical critique partner once, and I didn't enjoy being in a group with him. Glad you figured out how to critique more positively.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!

      Yeah, me, too. I still cringe when I think about it, though.

      Delete
  3. Congrats on the anthology! When I read the submissions and came across the well-written historical romance with deep, complex characters and a story that I felt could've carried a full novel... I thought it might be you. If it wasn't, I was going to recommend whoever the author turned out to be to you! Ha.

    I'm thinking your overly critical days were before you and I met, because I've always considered you an awesome critique partner.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Back at ya.
      I LOL-ed at the recommend me to me part. :D

      Delete
  4. Hi Melissa! Congrats! I am so happy to be a part of this anthology with you! I can't wait to read you story and the others!

    One of my first critique partners was AMAZING. He was so caring, kind, and patient with me. Then, I had others... For the most part, I was lucky, but there were one or two that I axed out right away, knowing they were NOT right for me. I am not a harsh critique partner, BUT, I do make my points clear in a kind way with examples, etc. One or two authors freaked out with my critiques and called me insensitive and I didn't know a thing. It happens. Some people are too sensitive and should NOT show their work only to be petted and praised.

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    1. Congrats to you, too, Michael!

      It takes time to develop a tough skin with receiving criticism. I'm way better at it than I used to be. But finding CPs who are compatible to you is important. Being in vastly different places skill- or sensitivity wise makes for friction and hurt feelings.

      Delete
  5. Oh, Melissa! I still need to create my business' street team, newsletter, and start marketing my stories. Bravo for becoming a part of the romance anthology. All best to you, my dear!

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    Replies
    1. One step at a time. It'll all work out.
      Thanks for visiting my blog.

      Delete
  6. Congrats on making it into the anthology!
    It must be hard to find the right balance as a critique partner.

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    1. It is! It's difficult to be honest, kind, and encouraging all at the same time.

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  7. My regrets almost mirror yours: I wish I have put more effort into my writing and publishing over the years.
    Congrats on the anthology.

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  8. I love that you end critiques on a positive note. I think writers for the most part are an insecure group.
    Hope you have a happy-writing new year:)

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  9. Congrats Melissa on being in the anthology! When it was romance, I, too, had to enter even though I had no time. Been there. Done that. Been that critique partner from hell. I've had more than one ms of mine ruined by those of the same ilk. After awhile you lose touch with your story. I believe in myself more now and long may it continue.

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  10. Congratulations on being chosen for the anthology! I'm excited to purchase my copy and read it. And happy IWSG day :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks!
      Me, too. I can't wait to read the other stories.

      Delete
  11. I've learned to cut back on my critiquing also. I was learning all these writing rules at the time, and so I felt the need to point them out when other authors didn't follow them. Now I realize writing is much more fluid and so I don't mention things unless they're really hurting the story.

    Congrats on the anthology. Happy 2022!

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    Replies
    1. Good to know I'm not the only one. LOL
      Thanks! You, too.

      Delete
  12. Congratulations!

    Critiquing is a balance. I think you're right, we have to figure of if it's the writing style or true issues. :)

    Happy New Year!

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  13. That's a good criteria for critique partners - either a novice or not a good fit. I bet the latter happens more often than people realize.
    Congratulations on being in the anthology!

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    1. It's okay to say if you're not a good fit. In fact, I start crit relationships with 'let's do a test critique or two to see if we're compatible.' I make sure the other person knows that it's okay to back out if they're not feelin' it.

      Thanks! I'm really excited about it!

      Delete
  14. That's one thing I am very careful with when editing - don't change the author's voice.

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  15. Congrats again on the anthology! :) "I make a point of softening what I say when I mention a problem, and I also take time to make positive comments when I see things the author did well." See, this is why we've made it a decade.

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  16. We all learn things as we go. I always feel I'm not tough enough or critical enough.

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  17. Happy New Year, Melissa!

    Congrats on your story acceptance in the IWSG Anthology.
    Critiquing is such a delicate process, trying to strike the right balance without intruding upon the author's style and voice.
    I like your perspective about completely re-writing a CP's story; either they're a complete novice, or you're not a good fit. That really makes sense.

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