Crew-woman’s log: Week Nine in a Thirteen Week Writing contest
Ouch. My brain hurts. My pride hurts.
And I’m loving it.
This has been an interesting nine weeks.
On Mondays, we get our assignment – usually a 400-600 word scene in a specific genre. We’ve had dystopian, historical, mid-grade, romance, fairy tales – and even a paranormal haiku (think 5 words, 7 words, 5 words, zombies and no rhyming – so hard!), among others.
A few days later, we turn them in. On Thursdays, the entries are posted and the world gets to read them and vote.
That’s where the gold is. No, we don’t get to see the votes, but a few gloriously awesome people post comments.
To a writer, seeing what complete strangers think is GOLD. It’s honest feedback, because they’re judging purely on the merits of good writing.
I’ve been able to both read and vote on the other entries, and I love what I’m learning from everyone.
Each week, there are always several outstanding pieces. I get to analyze why they appeal to me. Yeah, it all basically comes down to setting, characterization, pacing, voice, and flow. A brilliant premise doesn’t hurt, either.
For me, writing a new specific piece week by week, knowing people will be reading and judging it, has convinced me to work hard. The times my entries are mentioned make all the hours and angst worth it. The times no one says anything, I get the message: my piece needs more elbow grease. Usually a lot more.
Bit by bit, I’m learning new skills in the finer areas of writing. Let’s face it; it takes a lot of effort to become (actually, to aspire to become) a J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins. But my weaknesses will remain and my potential won’t be reached without honest feedback.
The problem is that it hurts. Sometimes I’m fragile and don’t want to hurt. But then I hear my mother’s voice inside my head, shooing me out the door, making me go back to school to work for the ‘A’. (By the way, there’s no one more honest than your mother, right?)
So, mothers and writing contests aside, there are many ways to get honest feedback. I’d love to hear what you’ve done, and what you like best.
(Also, feel free to hop over to http://throwingupwords.wordpress.com/ and click on Project Writeway to see the latest entries in this contest. I happen to know several crewmates here at the Cove have been participating - but we all use pen names, so have fun guessing.)