Friday, April 30, 2010

Through the Good and the Bad: Crit Partners

This post is going to be a little short, because I totally lost track of the week and now work from my day job is waiting to be done. Despite its length, I think it's an important post. We've all felt overwhelmed in our lives. Once I hit the "publish post" button, I will have officially put my fears, apprehension and doubts away. We'll, at least for awhile.

Recently our crit group took a hiatus. It was much needed for the three of us. Between our personal lives, jobs and book launches (YAY Kitty and Tracy (ahem, I mean Judith!), we found that the group wasn't doing what we set out to accomplish. Instead of it being a safe haven for us to let down our guard as a group and go through our work with a fine tooth comb, it became stressful. At least, that's how it felt to me. We weren't consistent, weren't active enough to be helpful. I found that I would put off the crits and my chapters (we try to crit a chapter a week) until the last moment, because other things in my life were swallowing me whole. I wasn't enjoying it like I used to. In the past, I looked forward all week to their new chapters, waiting to see where their stories went. I sat at the edge of my chair, waiting for their critique of my new words, biting my nails in anticipation whether good or bad. Sadly, that went away.

I was working on two project at the time of our hiatus, but instead of feeling refreshed and creative when jumping back and forth, I just felt overwhelmed. It was like I didn't know if I was coming or going. I thought that I could take a break for a few weeks and then jump back in. To a certain extent I did, at least for awhile. I wrote a VERY rough draft (minus the last few chapters) of one of my ideas. I had fun, but it didn't have the spark I wanted it to. I didn't know why it had lost its whimsical feel that the synopsis, lore and first chapters had. Shrugging it off, I jumped into my other story hoping that I just needed to step back from the first one to get a new perspective when we went back. Writing the second story wasn't as easy. I struggled, and instead of working through it, I put it down. Stupid I know.

After a few months of reflection, I realized what was missing. It wasn't anything that changed with me specifically, it was that I didn't have the safe haven of my crit group to talk me through the bad times, cheer for me through the good. I didn't have them riding me when I didn't write, reminding me why I love to write and read every day. The last few months have been a nice getaway, where I can focus on other things in my life, but now I'm ready to jump back into it. I'm happy to saw that we will be back together starting this Sunday! I look forward to the roller coaster ride that is a fun crit group.

Thanks girls for making me a better writer and making sure that I stay on top of everything. Without you, my work wouldn't be where it is at today. It's all because of you.

(Okay, so I lied, this post isn't that short).

1 comment:

Tracy Belsher said...

Hey Tami - I completely agree. We're very lucky to have our little crit group - lulls or no lulls - we know we can count on each other to kick our asses into high gear when needed.

Luv you guys!