TODAY I AM HONORED TO HAVE JD (MY DAUGHTER) SHARING A GUEST POST ON HER CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS. JD IS A WRITER HERSELF AND I SHARED THIS BOOK WITH HER TO HELP KEEP HER SPIRITS UP WHEN THINGS ARE GOING SLOW. THANKS TO CHICKEN SOUP FOR SENDING ME THE BOOK TO REVIEW. NOW ON TO JD'S WORDS.
I can not remember at what point in my life I started writing, but I do remember the thrill when I first opened Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers. Stories for writers, by writers, and about writers - what more could I want? One such tale That really spoke to me was Complementary Attraction by Cathi LaMarche.
Cathi recounts her casual memberships in an editing group, writers Improve working together to help each others' work. This group, however it, had evolved to "battl [ing] for the Best Editor Award of an Edit ..." meaning They were not just tearing apart each others work, but trying to top one another's suggestions as well. Cathi describe her sense of inadequacy - and boy did I relate to every word!
I'll admit, I do share a lot of my writing when it comes to worlds I've created. This is probably Because, like all writers, I fear the hiss of rejection. I've already got a little voice inside me that says "you aren't good enough." Why should I risk having someone else-gulp-agree with it?Horror of horrors, to get confirmation That You Should Never Have tried.
My experience with this feeling, being Judged by others for something very personal theater stems from experiences in college. You work for weeks on a design for a stage show or memorizing a monologue to present in front of thirteen of your peers (a harsh jury if ever there was one) and then, after it's all over, you stand in front of them and hear all the ways you might have improved. One such critique convinced me never again to set design because the result was so shredded by so many in the department. I knew the design was not the best - it was my first - but after hearing again and again That made no sense this part or that color choice that distracted I was convinced the whole thing had been a horrible mistake from which I would never recover . monologue critiques could be even worse. This decision did not come across in your performance. Why did you choose to stress that word? What was this movement supposed to convey? Every decision has to have a strong defense. Every monologue has to be run in at least three different ways with firm reasoning for why each one was abandoned.
Despite all this stress, I did make it through college with a degree in hand. Likewise, Cathi did not let the harsh critiques of her fellow group members scare her away. Instead, she met Michael, who commended her for holding up under the harsh words, telling her there had been previous new members that burst into tears and left before the critique was finished. She and Michael start going out after the weekly critiques, building each other up, making suggestions, and sharing manuscripts. Though she feels betrayed after a harsh critique from Michael, Cathi re-reads her manuscript and realizes he is right. On his suggestion, she cuts the first fifteen pages from her manuscript. To quote Cathi, "any man who can convince me to drop the first chapter of my beloved novel certainly could convince me to say 'yes' to marriage."
As Cathi and Michael prove, sometimes all you need is one person to say "yes" when you're surrounded by voices that shout "no." If that story was not enough to whet your appetite for wholesome real-life advice, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers have 100 other stories safe in its pages. Check them out!