Don't Take This Personally!

Don't you love how if you say, "Don't take this personally, but..." then you can get away with any kind of mean, crazy shit that's popping around in your brain? Or, at least, it gives you enough courage to just go ahead and start a good argument about pretty much everything?

Well, in a couple of weeks my fiction class at the Loft is going to start workshopping, a strange, slippery descent into the world of not taking things personally. At least, you need to try not to take things personally, because if you listen to every critique, however gentle, and take it fully to heart, a little acidic worm suddenly appears in your brain and starts eating at your resolve to ever write again, much less attempt another draft on the story that's been critiqued (again, however gently).

Nobody likes being told their brain child/story has imperfections. They've created it, they've nurtured it, they've loved it, and now YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO SAY IT MIGHT NOT BE TOTALLY AWESOME? I WILL CRUSH YOU...

Sorry, Hamline workshop flashback. Anyhow, what I wanted to say here is that having your piece critiqued by a class of fifteen or so people is an emotional roller coaster. You need to train yourself to listen to what everybody says while both not taking it personally AND taking what you need from it-really, you want to look for patterns, little points that come up repeatedly that could suggest larger issues in your story.

Then, once it's over, go home and have a stiff drink or a hot bath. Me, I like to drink IN the tub.


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