Writing progress: Nothing today but going to critique group counts, right?
Weight progress: Excellent - 3 pounds down in the new year and keeping it off...just slow and steady.
Reading progress: Nada.
So....my first critique group experience was nothing like I had imagined it would be. AT. ALL. I think I may be very used to all of my blogging friends and this awesome forum we have for communicating. I'm one of those super friendly personal people (ummm...if you couldn't tell) who really enjoys connecting and getting to know others - granted, I'm shy at first and a bit reserved but I love, love, love meeting new people.
Here's how my vision of what I thought would happen tonight went: I enter the bookstore early, peruse the lovely shelves, buy something I probably don't need and won't read for another few months, get a cup of coffee, awkwardly look for my new critique group, join them five minutes early or so...just in time to chat with interesting people that are gushing about writing and that have this connection that can't be described, they welcome me with open arms and I sit back entranced in their critiques of each other's work...well, you get the picture. I even envisioned meeting atleast one other woman my age...she and I would totally get along and get each other....we would exchange numbers and I would have a life long friend. Clearly I read too much fiction.
The only truth to the above vision was that I did indeed arrive early and of course bought something I didn't need. In the form of this beautiful cover:
Don't get me wrong...that's not to say that I'm not going back to the critique group at all. I am. It just caught me by surprise. The people were friendly but reserved...it was more business like than I had imagined. Everyone chit chatted as we waited on the group to arrive but it was awkward...they asked my genre and I explained that my first two books were science fiction but my latest project was more young adult and yet another work in progress was more literary fiction...so I haven't found exactly where I'm comfortable just yet. I'm enjoying jumping around. They all just kind of nodded and smiled...but not alot of feedback. I felt ditzy for randomly spilling things out as is my usual habit when I'm uncomfortable. I randomly babble and smile and get excited when I talk. Perhaps I look a little too anxious. I really just need to scream **like me, please, just like me**. Because in the end, that's all I want. I'm a people person.
I think it's because this certain group has an interesting mixture of people. It's intriguing. None of them are like me. At first I didn't know what to do because it's uncomfortable to feel like you don't fit in but as I listened and watched, I realized this may be the absolute most perfect situation I could have asked for. What better than to get up to 8 or 9 other perspectives on one piece of work? I was honestly amazed at what a mish mosh of people we had. And the feedback was really good.
They choose ahead of time four people who will get critiqued and the only rule is to keep it to a maximum of 2500 words and you give it to everyone by secure email a week in advance. Each person has to prepare their critique ahead of time and be ready to present. They go around the table one by one saying both what they loved about your piece and what needs work. There is an amazing level of respect from each person that I totally loved.
I took the plunge at the end of the meeting. It lasted two hours and fifteen minutes. I offered to present in two weeks something I write to be critiqued. I felt comfortable with how it works and I figured this would really give me an idea if this is something I want to continue. It was just such an odd, surreal experience for me. Completely out of my element yet touching in a way. To be around such a completely different group of people who share a passion for writing and help each other along the way was just cool. I wish you all could have been there. I still don't 100% know how I feel about the whole thing. I'm confused. And for some reason I like it.
The big thing for me will end up being if I connect with someone from the group in the next meeting or two and whether the critique helps my writing. In order to enjoy going to these things at some point I'm going to have to enjoy seeing someone because at my core I really am a people person and I can only fight it for so long. Right now it's more like they are all in a fishbowl or a science experiment and I'm probably watching them just as much as they are watching me.
And with that - it's much too late for me...time for bed!!!
Good night all!