Recently I had a crazy idea to start a series of articles on writing tips. Should be fun, right?
Well, in a way it was. For my first topic I was writing about something that I had learned many years ago. I hadn’t seen many articles on this topic, and since it had been an immense help in my own writing, I decided that I would write about it.
I wrote the first draft, and then submitted it to the queue in The Writers’ Block for critique. Recently our critique system underwent a few changes in order to streamline the process, so instead of getting critiqued on everything at once, the first round of review is just developmental.
This turned out to be a really good thing for me, because my first developmental review turned into a major rewrite. Turns out I had much more to say on the topic than I had originally thought! In fact, that rewrite doubled the overall word count of my article.
After that, I got another developmental review, then it finally went into the nitpick stage. This is where grammar and spelling mistakes are fixed. I also had to change a few of my examples–what I had didn’t accurately portray the topic I was covering.
As I was working on this piece, I noticed a strange phenomenon. For some reason I was more sensitive regarding the feedback I got on it than I am with my fiction or poetry (even though I’m new to writing poetry). When it comes to critiques on those, I just change what needs to be changed and that’s it. No mess no fuss.
But for this article, I found myself crying over some of the comments I got. We have a 24-hour timeout rule with our review system, so writers have the time to fully process the notes they get and apply any necessary changes to their work. For my article that 24 timeout was a necessity. And it wasn’t because of anything anyone said. No one was being overly harsh or critical, or making any nasty comments. It just hurt, much more than I thought it would.
I discussed this phenomenon with the lovely Tiny, who has written a plethora of writing tips articles, and she made a very good point. “Writing about writing opens you up to people saying ‘Who are YOU to tell ME how to write? What have YOU accomplished so far?'”
That’s what drove home. The fear that I wasn’t a good enough writer to write about writing. That the topic wasn’t important enough for me, an amateur, to write about and teach to other writers.
Once I was able to identify what was making me so sensitive, I found the courage to push past those fears and write the best article I could write. I only hope it helps make even just one person a better writer.
So without further ado I bring you the first installment in the Cultivate Your Prose with Rose series: Loose Body Parts and How to Keep them Attached.