Thursday, January 26, 2006

Life Lessons I've Learned from Critiques

Sometimes when things don't go my way, when it seems I've been at this forever, my husband will ask why I do this when it doesn't seem like I get anything out of it.

I usually reply with the standard, "but it makes me happy", "it's my creative outlet", yada yada yada. But yesterday I learned something else about myself that is good and a direct product of writing and more specifically of getting feedback.

I can be objective. I can be in situations where I do not take things personally. I am a better observer. I can focus on getting the job done without STUFF getting in the way.

This might seem a little strange after my post about self-doubt and all. But the lesson to remember from the self-doubt thing is that I always get to a point where I put in into perspective. It's NOT personal. And I have faith in both my cp's that they are trying to help me get published. What's important is that I learn.

Ok, this is all fine and good, but specifics would probably be good here.

In my PT job I have 4 coworkers. We had an incident involving one and the supervisor. Unfortunately both got emotional about it. We had a meeting yesterday and for the most part I sat back and watched, saying nothing (which is a miracle in itself since I ALWAYS have 2 cents to put in). And when my opinion was asked for, I tried to be fair and objective.

I'm also on a committee where something difficult is occuring. We're a small group and there is a real potential for things to get ugly. Did I let myself get embroiled in the politics and emotion of it? Nope. My comment was to consider this like a business. Everyone has a job to do. If someone isn't doing their job and it's threatening the entire committee's existence, then we need to fix it plain and simple. I have gained the ability to sit back, observe, and evaluate. To see all sides. To be practical. At the last meeting in December I felt like I had a bulls-eye painted on my head, but I knew where it was coming from and refused to engage. I am there to do a job. Not get caught up in personality issues.

This might not seem big to many of you, but those of you who have known me for a long time know what giant strides these are. It's a development I quite like in myself and I feel like I've actually grown up a bit.

And I believe it's all due to writing, getting countless rejections, getting feedback both good and bad. WHo would have thought it would have such a profound change?


    One of the most difficult things to understand when you take up writing is the fact that you have to put creativity into the same bed as the school of hard knocks. And they aren't exactly compatible bed-fellows!
    It takes a strong person, a person who can find the good in the bad, someone determined even if they have a moment or two of despair to just keep going and going. And even published authors who many outsiders would see as 'safe' have these same crisis every time they do a book.
    If you're learning all these things now then thats a VERY positive thing!!!! And WE KNOW you can do it!!!!

  2. To echo Trish -- yes we KNOW you can do it.

    Learning to use critques is an important skill.