Tuesday night was my local RWA chapter meeting. It was good. I always enjoy the meetings even when I’m tired and don’t want to go. This month’s meeting was a crit meeting. People who wanted feedback on their WIPs brought 3-5 pgs to be read aloud for everyone to listen to and then comment on.
Now, I have to say outright that I hate these meetings. I really do. Only because I DETEST having my work read aloud. The last (and only) time I did this I was tricked into participating. I’d sent a chapter to Evil Lisa for her to read, and then I’d been busy the day of the meeting (on purpose) and didn’t have time to make copies or print out my pages. Lo and behold, Lisa made copies, knowing I wouldn’t, and brought them to the meeting (weasel!). I did get some great feedback that night, but the whole time my pages were being read (and not by me), I felt like hiding under the table with my hands covering my ears, singing the Star Spangled Banner at the top of my lungs to drown out the voices and words from above. I don’t know what it is…I don’t have a problem with people reading my stuff so long as it isn’t done aloud and I’m not in the room.
But I digress. Back to this month’s meeting.
So I didn’t take pages this time, and I sure as heck didn’t send Lisa anything early. Others brought their work to be reviewed though, so it was fine…I got to sit and listen (or read along). It’s fun to hear other people’s work…fun to learn what my chapter mates are working on. But because I tend to be visual, not auditory, I have trouble staying focused when people are reading to me. I think about shopping lists and schedules and what’s in the fridge to snack on when I get home, or what my characters are rambling about in the back of my brain. But this night, as I was sitting there listening to one of the girls’ pages, I was totally enraptured. I can’t tell you what her story was about. I don’t even remember the names of the characters. All I know is her voice totally stuck with me. So much so everything else faded away. I emailed her today to tell her that. She’s a new writer, only working on her second book, but I see great things for her if she sticks with it. Her voice is fun and fresh and so easy to listen to (and read), it alone makes me want to buy her books.
People gave her great suggestions for her pages, and she was completely open to all feedback. And sitting there, she commented that she thinks this manuscript (her second) could be the one to sell. Normally I would smile that plastic smile and nod and think, yeah right, when a newbie writer says that with such confidence, but you know what? I almost believe she can do it with this book. She’s got things she knows she has to work on – mainly sharpening her craft, but she’s already leaps and bounds ahead of where I was at her stage in my career. I really hope she sticks with it and makes it.
What a cool feeling, being surrounded by that enthusiasm and energy and someone who has genuine talent when it comes to writing. I was reminded why I love to write at this meeting. I was reminded of the excitement I felt when I first started, before I was jaded by submissions and rejections and the business side of writing. Every once in a while, it’s nice to be reminded of the reasons we all started writing in the first place. Not because we wanted to sell and make millions of dollars (although that would be nice too), but because deep down we love it and can’t imagine doing anything else. This girl loves to write, and she’s good at it, which is a really cool combination. And you know what? I love it, too.
I’m now off to write…