As a writer new to the world of actually considering publishing work, rather than simply writing for personal enjoyment, I am also new to the art of critiquing work. I have recently critted a friend’s work, and I realize that I am lacking in the language of critiquing. My few poetry classes in college are failing me, and while I know I will get better with practice, at first my crits are going to be pretty bad. It’s also a little daunting realizing just how many critiques I will be receiving over the next many years as I continue to push forward and aim for the stars, so to speak, with my writing. No goal is too high. I may never reach said goals, but I may as well aim high because I do agree with the quote by Brian Littrel: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
My current goal is to get a novel written and edited and mostly ready for publication by this time next year. With grad school all year (the only full break I get is winter break), and field placement starting this fall, I don’t know how realistic that goal is, especially with other commitments that I have, but that is my goal. Even if it doesn’t happen, presumably I will be closer then than I currently am. I have done NaNoWriMo for two years in a row thus far (prior to that I was in college full-time and was not in a good headspace, so I didn’t have the chance to write although I knew about it), and have won each time, a day or two ahead of schedule, so I know that I can keep to a schedule. I’m not saying that by winning NaNo I am the best writer on the face of the planet – I know that what I churn out for NaNo each year needs much revision before it’s even close to resembling a novel, but it does create (or rather, encourage) self discipline as well as good ideas that can possibly later be turned into novels or novellas. For example, NaNo2012. I wrote an incomplete novel that I didn’t like by the end, but I am using the original idea to write a novel now. This, or possibly the idea I have floating around in my brain now, will be the novel that I want to have done around this time in 2014.
But because I am so new to the writing world, I am a little afraid of the comments I will get about my scribbling. I have been told that I write well, but I do tend to doubt myself. I also am fairly sensitive about critiques when it comes to my fiction – I’m used to it when it comes to nonfiction, since I’ve had to write so many papers for classes and such, but my fiction… I’ve only shared it with a handful of people before (literally – I can count on the fingers of one hand how many people have read my fiction). So the thought of sharing it on a Submit Your Work forum on Absolute Write is pretty terrifying. I mean, people will be kind with critting my work as long as I specify that, but still – having people I don’t know reading my work is scary. Self doubt is not my friend here, and I know that.
But write I will. And I will get better at writing, giving crits, and receiving crits about my own work. I am determined that I am not going to be scared out of this field by criticism of my writing. I want to learn and grow as a writer and I know that the only way to do that is to actually work at it.