A week ago I posted about a poetry workshop I planned to attend with Fred Chappell. He’s a pretty renowned poet and author and I was excited to be part of his class. And it was a really good class.
He asked each of the 15 participants to bring three poems we wanted to discuss. I picked three that I thought ranged from okay to pretty good. As it turned out, we each had to pick ONE of those three for the class to talk about. This presented a quandary. Did I read the one that I thought was pretty good in order to impress everyone? Or did I pick the okay one because I could actually use some feedback to help me improve it? Did I want to invite praise or criticism?
Ugh. I do so love praise.
I ultimately read my least favorite of the three and was rewarded with a nice mix of positive feedback with some suggestions for improvement. Basically, I got affirmation and assistance. Nice.
Today I was faced with a similar quandary. I’m going to a writer’s retreat in October and a multi-published author of Christian fiction is offering critiques. She said she’d be happy to read my synopsis and first 20 pages. Enter the quandary. Do I send her the book that was a semi finalist in the Genesis Contest so she sees what a good writer I am? Or do I send her the book that I know needs fixing so she can help me fix it?
Of course, the real problem here is that no matter how good I think the writing is or how ready I think my books are for publication . . . I’m wrong. So I sent the book I know needs work. And I clamped down on the urge to tell this award-winning author that if she wants to read a really good book, I can send her that, too.
As I said to a friend earlier this week. I am a vain, vain woman.