criticism and hope
Today I had a meeting with my writers group which is composed of women who are many different ages and of many different types. I love this group of women as they are so diverse yet so interesting to me. One of these remarkable women is 90 years old and working on her second novel. She published her first last year at the ripe old age of 89. One thing I notice about this group is the focus and attention given to the work of each member. Another thing I notice is the focus given to grammar and punctuation in everyone’s work. Today I received a critique on my blog and one of our members announced she simply didn’t read or believe anything that had spelling mistakes in it. She said this disdainfully without looking at me and she was a youngish women.I watched my reaction to her remark with interest as I was surprised at the amount of emotion I felt. I realized some in my group are uncomfortable with my sharing of emotions in this blog as they view this as too “exposed”. I view my blog as a place where I express the true side of my soul. The critical member of my group must fall into the “uncomfortable” category and yet, I had to agree with her as I am not a fan of misspelling but I do it all the time having had learning disabilities as a child. I think I felt as if it were a shame she had missed the content of the blog by becoming annoyed at misspelling and turning off her mind. I am a believer in good communication as I spent so many years studying the subject. I think we listen to feedback if we are given both positive and negative feedback in the same session. Here is what is good and here is what needs work. If we hear something good about our work we are heartened and more likely to listen to where we need to work harder. I appreciate this woman’s comments as I will now be more careful of spelling errors but also more tolerant of others who also make errors but may have something interesting to say.It is my hope that eventually my group will return to the point of writing groups which is to encourage new ideas and new work among its members and to provide feedback on content. While editing is very helpful it should not be the most important thing we do for each other but something we offer as an aid to publishing the final work.Sometimes we get so focused on the imperfection of one tree we miss the beauty of the forest.Imagine if we were to edit life in this manner… we would miss sunsets in favor of counting the clouds obscuring the sky.