I think I’ve found a deeper fear than bears in the woods

Getting out of my comfort zone isn’t something I enjoy.  Just now I submitted my first few pages to the critique group I made myself join.

I had to make myself join it, or else put off writing the real things I long to write for another decade.

Because the business of life ends up filling in all the writing hours, covering up the stories with to do lists.

I felt I needed some kind of accountability.  So I wrote.  And then, just now, with a shaky hand, I pressed send.

And it scared me more than the first day of kindergarten– without the nice smells of crayola and modeling clay to comfort me— a person who always feels like an oddity in a new group situation.

Will I now be strong enough to go to the next group meeting and read my first paragraph?  Will I be strong enough not to cry knowing that there are all kinds of things wrong with it?  With me?

I did the first hard part; the danger writing.  But to share this vulnerable part of my life in a writer’s group feels scarier to me than when my husband took me into the backcountry of the Virginia wilderness and we encountered seventeen bears near the trails.

Why are writers at the same time brave enough to name their weaknesses, yet so completely fragile when it comes to the idea of having their intimate lives picked over, discussed in a room, edited for mistakes?


4 thoughts on “I think I’ve found a deeper fear than bears in the woods

  1. Kurt Vonnegut said, “As for literary criticism in general: I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel or a play or a poem is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split.”
    Congrats on getting past the first hard step.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Shelly, I am equally excited and terrified. But I think it’s very healthy for my ego to stand down so that real growth and learning can happen. It’s not easy to give criticism, and so I need to learn to be gracious and kind, especially in those moments when my defenses spike and my righteous attitude arrives.


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