As I’ve always said before, I generally avoid New Year’s resolutions. This year, for a change, I made several:
– I will join a critique group
– I will allow myself to mentor someone, and ask for a mentor
– I will submit material for publication
At the January meeting of CTRWA, I was right there with the club’s critique group. We found much to say about each other’s work (both pro and con) and left feeling we’d encouraged each other in the best ways. Resolution One: check.
Also in January, responded to the semi-annual offer of matching Yodas and Grasshoppers. Don’t laugh – our most accomplished writers are called Obi-Wans. However, with the snag of a badly typed email address, I didn’t make the deadline for getting matched. The coordinator felt badly for me and offered herself up, saying she didn’t feel she was Yoda status yet, but was willing to try.
Resolution Two: check. Mentor achieved, and by the skin of my teeth. But what an experience. It has already changed my life.
You see, Joy asked an interesting question: what did I want from a Yoda? She had already joined the critique group, so she knew my writing. (A side-resolution: I would be honest in my answer)
“I want someone to kick my butt.”
She wanted to see the synopsis for the book I was closest to finishing (not the one I was working on). The next day, I had an email: “We must meet. This week. When are you available?” We settled on Sunday afternoon.
As luck would have it, I had a car accident on Friday. Spent Saturday feeling like someone had squeezed all my back and shoulder muscles into one big knot (I’mostly fine now. Really). On Sunday, I asked Himself to drive me to the meeting spot in Connecticut, where my mentor was going to kick said butt.
I’d already told him he was NOT to sit with us. Even though he’s a writer.
Thus, my husband of nearly 34 years found a table nearby, placed his lunch order and opened his Kindle.
Ninety minutes later, Joy said something I don’t remember ever hearing: “I don’t need to see your chapters. I already know from what I read in critique group, and from your synopsis, that you can write.” And she asked a question I’d never had to answer before: “Why are you writing?”
Oh dear. A question I didn’t know how to answer. Did I want to be published again? Sure. Was I willing to do what it takes to make that happen?
You’re writing, she told me, because you want to see your book published. You want to know people can read your book. You want them to see it and know how amazing this story is. And the way to do that is to submit. And the way to submit is to
Amazing, how this women – in less than two hours – cuts though the all the crud of my denial and strips away my excuses. Since our meeting on Sunday, I’ve read through the first ten chapters of THE LAKE EFFECT. I see lots decent writing, and some of it is terrific. I also see disjointed scenes, clumsy scenes, awkward phrases, bad word choices and incomplete sentences. This, I realize, will be my first second draft. What an idea! It’s almost something to look forward to – like a strange and unexpected adventure.
Which brings me to the question: what scares you most about writing? What would you discover if you dared?