Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crit Group Dilemma Part 2 and an Award!

Ok, well, I promised to let you all know how I liked the second part of my critique group experience and I have to say - I'm just as baffled as the first go round.  Perhaps more so. 

Hmmm...actually blogging about this seems to be healing and therapeutic in a way.  My poor hubby is most likely tired of my ramblings at this point.  It's just that I always walk away from these meetings wondering what is bothering me about this group.  Why do I feel so drained upon leaving and coming home?

I'm bothered that I don't want to stick it out.  I'm not a quitter.  It's a shame really because the critiques I received are chock full of good stuff.  I know I benefit as a writer from this experience but it leaves me feeling somehow tainted in a way I can't quite explain.  This just isn't the right fit for me and for some reason that fact makes me feel like a failure.

When I arrived tonight I had a nice conversation with an older gentleman in the group who seems kind and sincere.  I was thankful for the interaction and I felt like I was off to a good start.  (remember...total optimist here)  Then there were the ladies.  I was okay with them shredding my work...I signed up for it and that's what I'm there for.  They gave me good constructive feedback - both very positive along with some major things I need to work on.  What I didn't really enjoy was the way they all seemed to talk to each other and somehow leave me out of the loop.  It was this "know it all" attitude that just hit me the wrong way.  At one point they got off topic completely and began discussing (by name) a man from another group who apparently has a hideous submission.  I found it appalling and unprofessional.  And just plain mean. 

I guess what is truly bothering me at the heart of this issue is purely "Are these my people or not?"  The obvious answer is no.  I need to find another group.  I need good critiquers who are honest, friendly, open and deep down good people.  They don't have to be like me and they don't even have to really like me.  Okay that last one was a lie.  I have a problem with people not liking me because, well, that's me.  I want to be friends with the people who critique me and I want to like them and enjoy our conversation.  You can tell me my writing is crap and as long as you like me as a person, I'm going to be hurt but I'm going to take it okay.  Weird but true.  I just want to look forward to Wednesday night instead of dreading it.  Is that too much to ask?  I want this process to be a fun one instead of work.  Afterall...this is a hobby and I feel like while staying in this group would benefit my writing, I'm selling my soul in doing so.  It really feels like that.

Am I insane?  Maybe.  But it's my choice.

The worst part?  At the end of the meeting they asked for volunteers for the next meeting.  I didn't want to volunteer but they looked at me and asked me directly.  Sometimes I have a problem saying no.  It's just me.  It's annoying.  So I said yes.

Now I know what I need to do...quit the group...but I'm stressing over it.  I have no idea where to find another one and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but it's just not for me.  It makes me feel hinky.  I've been enjoying using the word hinky lately...even when it doesn't fit.  Totally random I know. 

SO my mind is racing with all these thoughts of the night and how things went.  Lucky for me I have some editing to do.  Looking to be a LONG night.

On a much more HAPPY note - the lovely Eva over at Screaming Whispers left me a cool award.  I've gotten it once already but it's my most favorite one so I'll happily display it again!  Weeeee!  And this tiny fact alone, along with all you happy writer bloggy friends, has lessened the torture of my day.  You all seriously rock!

And now on to the editing.  Blah!

Good night all!
Kristi



 

12 comments:

  1. I love having positive feedback (even if it is shredding the piece) but I have to trust the source for it to feel truly positive. After all, writing is so personal because every word is a part of you. If you can't trust someone with yourself, it just isn't worth it. Find people who will help your writing without making you feel slimy and good luck!

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  2. You were there so you know the vibes best. But they are new to you and you to them. There's bound to be some stress -- but actually it might be good stress-- the kind that keeps you on your toes, toughens your skin and your resolve, and in the end makes you perform better. Consider the source-- to they have the type of credentials that make them qualified critics? It's nice to hear lot's of positive comments, but if it's not true and given so as not to hurt your feelings it doesn't help. I'd say don't give it up yet unless you are pretty sure that these people are just mindless busybodies there to socialize and be negative as a power trip. Good luck. We'll wait to see what happens. And if it's a new group then good luck with them.
    Lee

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  3. If it's not clicking, find a new group! I was with a crit group like that for several months and just felt so uncomfortable. And it had nothing to do with what they said about my work. I just didn't feel comfortable with those people.

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  4. I think you'll know "the Ones" when you find them. ;) These obviously aren't it. Especially if they are talking unprofessionally behind a fellow writer's back - who knows what they'll say about you, the new girl, when you aren't there??
    I think it's a good call to move on.

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  5. This is a decision you have to make, and you know that, but it sounds like you're wavering with which way to go. All I can do is tell you what I would do...or actually...what I did. I was in the same boat, a critique group that I didn't click with. Of course they were all 15+ years older than I was, but still. Is helpful critiquing with people you don't consider friends better then no critique at all? I chose the latter because the experience wasn't enjoyable, and I too dreaded going to the meetings.

    There will be some who might think that abandoning the group was because we couldn't handle having our work took apart, but that's not true. Even when I received positive reinforcement it lacked meaning for me.

    I'm still searching for a group that's the right fit, and so should you. Find other writers who will stroke your hair just as much as they pull it, and you'll be thankful for it either way.

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  6. I find it very easy to get bummed after a critique because--gasp--my story isn't so perfect after all. Even if I get really good advice and I've got a good solid idea of how to fix my mistakes, there's still that bummed out feeling. So, you might want to wait 24 hours or so to make sure it's not just writing doldrums getting you down.

    Then again, finding the right critique group it uber important. I think it's just about as important as picking out a husband; you have to share something extremely personal with this people, the rawest, roughest rough draft of your creation. It's almost like you're letting them in to see the very inner you (too dramatic? Sorry). But honestly, keep looking for another group if this one isn't working.

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  7. I am sort of glad I didn't make it last week, but I didn't know you were going again last night! Let's start our own...Quit these crazy people! You need criticism, but you don't need negativity.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  8. Thank you guys SO SO much for the comments and feedback. It healed my soul, in a way, hearing your thoughts and experiences. I'm so touched I may have to comment each of your sites just to make sure you know how much I appreciate the feedback.

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  9. I came across this today and thought it might help--a post series on critique groups! This is the link to the latest post: http://www.karen-strong.com/2010/02/03/receiving-critique-feedback/

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  10. Oh Kristi, you poor sweet little thing. Why can't everything just be the way we imagine it? It would be so much better. ; )

    You'll find another group. You're a sweet and very talented writer, and you don't want to pollute your writerly aura with negativity and people like that.

    Happy Thursday! : )

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  11. That's really awful because having a crit group is really important but it has to be the right one. My crit group is online because we live all over but it works great. They are critical but very supportive. I cherish what they have to say. You need to find something that is the right fit for you or you will never feel good about it.

    Ok, that out of the way... Yay! You deserve the award!

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