Monday, August 29, 2011

Feeling Vulnerable

Thoughts on letting your manuscript go:

I feel like I’m standing in front of my crit group completely naked. They’re standing there offering suggestions like, “Maybe you could lift here a little,” or “This whole area needs to be tucked, like this,” or “I’m not sure about the coloring.”


And then someone says, “But her eyes are nice.”

Thank you. I’ll focus on that for a few minutes and then get to work on the lifting and tucking—cause you know what—they’re right.

Nothing I can do about the coloring though.

My crit partners are skillful at making me feel good first…and then ‘helping’ me see the ‘problem’ areas. They’re the Best! It’s so great to get fresh eyes on a project. So thanks guys, I don’t know what I’d do without you.

What are your critiquing despairs or triumphs?


  1. I know what you mean. I'm always afraid to send things out to be critiqued. At WIFYR, my hands were shaking for almost an hour after my critique. It makes me so nervous every time.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. Opening up to critique is super hard, but I have to say it's easier than being completely naked! Maybe like standing in your underwear:)

  3. I've taught creative writing classes and headed up critique groups--and I've always tried to be reassuring with my students, because really it IS like being naked. I remembered this fact when I submitted to a group critique last year. I'd forgotten how hard it is, actually.

    MEMO TO TEACHERS: you should also do the thing you require your students to do.

    Good girl, Emily. Keep at it.

  4. Jeni and Robin, yes I was nervous at WIFYR too. And a bit defensive at first...but then, you know what? You were all right!

    And Ann, thanks for taking time to contribute to my little community. THIS is why I LOVE writers. They are all willing to share and help. In my experience so far it's such a selfless loving community.

  5. Oh, Emily, you know how much I relate to your vulnerability. And it's so refreshing to see that YOU of all people feel this way. You're always so cool and collected, I would have never guessed. I just finished reading your latest chapter pages today, and I want you to know that I am rooting for you. You are talented writer, you're smart, and you've created a fantastic plot and world. Many writers can't say as much. Don't give up!