I wrote a post for my writers’ workshop and I hope you don’t mind, but I thought I’d let it do double duty since I’m hard at work on my manuscript. We had some newbies at our workshop last night and it made me think back to my first time to read for critique and all the trauma that caused me. 😉 Remember your first time?
A few years ago, I sat at the table amongst twenty or more people. I was so nervous, I had red blotches down my neck and chest. I’m sure had it not been for my clothing, I would have seen those splotches go all the way to my toes. Thank goodness for clothing as I was vulnerable enough. That didn’t stop me from feeling NEKKID, however.
I had put in hours upon hours writing, re-writing and writing some more on that first chapter. I was so sure it was awesome. I loved it. How could anyone not like it? Of course, that was just a small (very small) part of me. The other major part wondered what the heck I was doing. I hated public speaking. I hated being the center of attention. And that part of me just knew I was fooling myself. I could never be a writer. Where did I get off thinking I could even compete with the talent in that room?
Yet when they called my name to read, I picked up those pages with shaking hands. The temperature in the room probably dropped about ten degrees just from the wind I generated from the vacillating papers growing wet from my moist finger tips. I was cold and hot at the same time with the feeling that I might hurl at any moment. I almost asked someone to call for an ambulance; my heart was beating so fast and hard, I thought for sure I was about to have a heart attack.
But, I didn’t have time for that. The moderator nodded to me and clicked the button on his stop watch to begin the countdown of my allotted time. And I began to read. My voice shook and was way higher than normal. I’m sure I heard dogs howling outside from the pitch. There were times I couldn’t draw in a deep enough breath. But finally, just before I hyperventilated, I finished.
The people around the room broke into applause. I was ecstatic for two seconds until I remembered that they ALWAYS clapped for someone’s first read.
real hell critique began… Click here to read more about my descent into the abyss.