On Expecting Criticism

Stardate 96126.97

Tonight I will be undertaking the most anxiety-ridden task of my life – reintroducing my writing to my family. Yes, my family. They say your family members are your worst critics because they actually know you and how you tick. It’s hard to break through that barrier to show them something you’re working towards accomplishing. Ahhhh writer’s anxiety.

I think every writer has their own levels of anxiety. As a child I thoroughly enjoyed reading because I knew it was something I hadn’t written myself. As high school Creative Writing class came into play that changed. I had only ever written for myself – mostly Star Trek fanfictions I wouldn’t let anyone else read – and now I was expected to write for a grade. So why would anyone want to write for strangers and then to have those strangers critique the innermost being of your soul?

So why would anyone want to write for strangers and then to have those strangers critique the innermost being of your soul?

There’s another saying out there that says you put a bit of yourself into each story you write. That, of course, is just a paraphrase but you get the gist of it. So tonight during my family’s weekly dinner night I’ll be bearing that bit of myself as I share the first page of my novella. I feel like it’s finally ready for its first mini beta test and who else but my parents, my sister and my brother-in-law to share it with? I also chose them because I have this nagging fear in the back of my mind that some internet stranger would attempt to steal my ideas and make it their own. Plagiarism is real and I’m trying to avoid not only having it done to me but inadvertently doing it myself.

I just need to take that leap of faith. The critics are going to come out of the woodwork whether they’re you’re family or not so why not get used to those opinions now if you know they’re going to potentially make you a better writer?

How else can I expect to grow if I can’t expect or accept constructive criticism?

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