I’ve been writing an icky scene.
No, not one with blood and guts (wait, maybe that’s what it needs!). One where the writing was just dragging along, not flowing, where I was staring at it and knowing that–even for a first draft–it was not making me happy. In other words, the staring wasn’t helping. And next week is slotted (in my mental writing calendar) for a bit of work on my picture book and a bit more work on some talks I’m getting ready to give. So, you know, it would have been easy just to stall out on this scene, let it sit on the computer, and then–yes–have it be that much harder to face when I came back to it.
Or… I could push through it, with the unhappiness, get it “done,” and send it out to my critique group, knowing that it’s totally safe to share with them and knowing that I’ll get ideas, thoughts, suggestions…HELP!
And then I got an email from my mom who, as I’ve mentioned here before, is pretty darned wise. She’s been working on her memoir, first through a class at the local community college and then–when funding got cancelled for the class (BOO, HISS!), with the group of people who decided to keep writing together. I’d just given her a basic critique, with a few thoughts about scene structure and showing, not telling, and I know she’d planned to get right back to writing. Turns out, not quite so fast–she’s not only a wise woman, but a very busy one. Anyway, turns out is the meeting of her group. Here’s what Mom said in her email:
We’re meeting this afternoon, so I HAD to get something written.
Yes, that is the motivation magic of a critique group. It’s the kind of deadline that, in a strong & supportive group, puts just the right amount of pressure on us–the good kind. The kind that says we’re free to get past the reluctance, distaste, or fear about whatever that current writing piece is–to push through it, get it to some kind of “done,” and send it out.
Free to keep moving forward.