Friday, January 2, 2009

In Search of That Perfect CP

Early on in my writing career ... (can I call it a career with just a novella under my belt? Yeah I can, it's my blog). Where was I? ... Right, so early on via cyberspace I met an awesome fellow writer. Beth and I developed a strong bond over the years and if we lose touch for a few weeks, we can always pick right back up. 

Bottom line, I value my relationship with Beth and yet, I find myself unsatisfied with having only one person with which I can share the ups and downs of a struggling writer. There are several reasons for this I think. 
  1. While Beth has awesome ideas and feedback, I need the perspective of more than one person. 
  2. At times, we aren't always on the same professional page. Life interrupts, things happen (like babies) and she can't always be there, just as I can't always be there. 
  3. Sometimes I am looking for a particular type of feedback and don't receive it. This isn't her fault, she gives her all, but I think it goes back to needing a different perspective. 
Over the years I've had several critique partners but haven't been able to keep the relationships going. I'd like to think the fault does not lie with me and more often than not, I seem to be paired with people who aren't on the same wavelength. But perhaps I am wrong. Like any relationship, being a critique partner (emphasis on partner) means working at that relationship. Being a critique partner means being a friend and a co-worker. It's an intimate thing. I mean, I am putting myself out there by having someone, who is by all rights a stranger, read my work in it's roughest form. It's almost like baring your soul to that random stranger on the train during your morning commute. It's hard. Yet, I do it. Time after time I send my work to women I've met through websites and conferences and each time I am met, in the end, with rejection. That's hard to take. 

I've also tried critique groups but found them to be mostly intimidating. Usually I enter a group and everyone already knows everyone else. I begin working with these fellow writers and perhaps, because I am new, I don't always offer my most honest opinion. I sugarcoat the things I really want to say. Should I do that? I'm not sure. No matter what someone, somewhere along the way is going to get their feelings hurt. So maybe the groups don't work for me because I don't give my all. 

This post is a mess of random thoughts and I apologize for that. I am just trying to figure out if the problem is mine or if other people experience the same level of frustration and disappointment. 

Here's what I want:
  1. Someone who is on the journey to publication, just like me.
  2. Honesty without cruelty
  3. Contact several times a week - I write everyday, I need someone to talk to about it almost everyday. 
  4. Trust, humor, comfortable commiserating, support, and most importantly: 
  5. A friend
Is this what others want? Am I being ridiculous? I don't know, but if you have some feedback, I'd love to hear it. Thanks for listening.

2 comments:

EP said...

I don't think you're being ridiculous at all. When I was writing (I graduated with a degree in journalism), I always was really intimidated having certain people read whatever I had written for the same reason. I feel the best critiques come from someone close to you, who is walking the same journey and someone who you trust completely.

Good luck finding that person!

elizaw said...

Not ridiculous-- I've felt the same, especially since moving to a tiny little town buried in snow.

http://critpartnermatch.ning.com/ This is a decent place to start looking for a good crit partner, if you haven't found it already. I hope you find what you're looking for!