Monday, February 7, 2011

    I have inadvertently joined a critique group, and I am terrified.  I keep asking myself, how did this happen? How did I get myself into this? I went to a Saturday morning writers group meeting to hear about self-publishing (electronic). And I happened to mention to the person next to me that I needed to improve my writing, she mentioned a meeting after the meeting for people interested in critique groups. So I thought I would attend and just see what was available. Purely window shopping.  But the person running the meeting was quite determined to match everyone up. I considered fleeing (still am considering fleeing), but didn't; as it would seem an impolite response. I hoped the fact that no one matched up well with me, would save me in the end, no match by genre or time availability.  But he decided that the last three standing equaled a group. And the two were appallingly agreeable in bending to my early day schedule though I tried to convince them not to be.
    I got so anxious thinking about it for the past two weeks, that I told myself I didn't have to do it, I just wouldn't go.  There is my general social anxiety, which would make this stressful under even the most positive circumstances. Then there is the fact that it is just three of us, not at all enough people to hide among. And add to that, that they are both male, which places me much farther outside of my element. And then of course there is the writing, the exposure of it's weakness, to be open, vulnerable in my inabilities. I don't want to do that.  It doesn't sound at all like something I would sign up for.  Especially considering how hard struck I was at my conference critique last year. I am still recovering. And my writing, I have decided it is not better enough to endure that again. I am not ready, I know I'm not ready, and I see no point in repeating that experience currently. (Good enough would be better than better enough in that sentence, but I am surprisingly stubborn, and resistant to such insights.)
    But in the end it is me with the damn page, asking myself, what do you want?  What do you hope to accomplish? How do you expect to get there from here?  And alone, doesn't seem like a complete answer.  I know I need help, other eyes, other opinions. If these two people are willing to help me, how can I not ask myself to show up. If I believe in myself, in my stories at all, I shouldn't run and hide from the opportunity to improve.
    So here I am, trying to tie myself down, and rewrite the worst parts of the first chapter before I send it to them. They've sent theirs'. I am amazed at how hard it is for me. It shouldn't be. I feel sick, I feel sad, I feel uncomfortable, I feel stupid. I'm not at all hungry, but I keep thinking, I need to take a break and eat something (if I do that every time, go from fight or flight, to feed, I'm going to get really enormous). But clearly instead of that I took a break and wrote this post. Now I just need to pry myself loose from here, a frightened cat determinedly dug into the mesh of this blog with its claws, and get back to work. Yes, back to fighting tigers, and swallowing alligators, locked in a fierce struggle with pen and paper. I feel silly, that I should find it so hard...
go go go go go...off you go

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