On Writing My Book: Part II


You'll never know what you want to write until it starts writing itself in your head.

I've taken several writing classes at the Arts Center in Troy, NY, hoping to get the story which burns in my mind onto paper.

While my teacher, renowned local author Colleen Paratore, was an excellent guide, I only have one one memory from her class.

As expected in writing classes, fellow students critique each other's work. Taking multiple writing classes, I've learned quickly that most people have limited skills in critiquing writing. Most people. The majority of individuals, in fact, have limited skills in offering constructive feedback.

When I read a class assignment out loud to the small group of classmates, the very first comment I heard was:

“Well, I know we are not supposed to comment on grammar. However, you should have used the verb saw instead of to see.”

It is a comment I will recall forever.

This student could not overlook a single grammatical error to see the story I had written. This person’s negative comment outweighed any positives I received that lesson. 

Negative feedback leaves a lasting impression. For me, it takes a huge effort to ignore it, hold my head up, and continue to write.

I have to tell myself:  “Yes, the person was right, but your story is worth telling. Keep going.”

That is the survival mechanism of a cactus.