I have a confession to make: I have trust issues. I’ve been burned before. I’ve had people betray my trust to get . I stay closed to keep my trust from being violated, although I know I need to be open to accept love & support. The only way to grow is to examine and sometimes you need a third party examination to point out weak areas and help strengthen areas in which you are already strong. I say all of this to say…I need a reader/editing partner I can trust.
In writing you (or at least I) reach a stage in which your eye is unreliable. Your brain has this auto-correct feature. You know what you meant to say there, and your brain just fills it in. That’s part of the reason I advocate putting a piece away for a while between writing and editing.
But once you’ve gotten the grammar (almost) perfect, corrected punctuation, and closed plot holes, you still need a reader to critique your work. I learned this twice, both in the incident from the previous post and from writing workshop classes. It’s important for an impartial party to read your work for clarity & interest, to point out what’s working and what’s not, to help you find the lie in your writing. But there are pitfalls to sharing your unpublished work.
I read some of my poetry in class when I was in the tenth grade. A few years later, I found out that someone from that class “co-opted” one of those poems and was passing it off as her own work. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like Maxine Hong Kingston‘s No Name Woman–like someone had broken and sullied everything in my house and it was all my fault (“No Name Woman” is the first part of Kingston’s The Woman Warrior).
I got queasy in each creative writing workshop class when I had to hand each person a copy of my work. Even though we all were equally vulnerable, I felt somehow more exposed, easier to victimize. I realize it was mostly a self-inflicted paranoia, but it never got any easier.
I know writers need readers, but I’ve no idea where to find a “Dear Reader” to my Charlotte Bronte (or Jane Eyre, as she is “telling the story”).
So, tell me, who reads/critiques for you? How did you find them? Does anyone read your work before a literary agent or editor? Do/did you have trust issues, and if so, how did you overcome them?
- Quality Writing Comes When Students are Invested in their Projects (twowritingteachers.wordpress.com)
- T-R-U-S-T [RealTalk] (themoecashchronicles.com)
- Trust? How to give it freely? (ask.metafilter.com)
- 7 Tips for an Authentic and Productive Writing Process (copyblogger.com)