A client mentioned something about my fixing her writing today. Later in the day, I attended our first meeting of a leaderless (someone said “peer support”) poetry writing group at Willett Free Library, just up the hill from my home. There, almost half of the members said something disparaging and judgmental about their writing.
So, let’s get something straight. You can’t fix something that’s not broken. Your writing’s not broken. You can:
- Bring structure to
- Bring to life
But I bristle at the word “fix.”
Not a Destination
Writing is a journey, a process, a path. You’re on the path. Acknowledge yourself for writing. Acknowledge that writing takes work and refinement and it’s not expected to come out perfect the first time. At least not often.
You’re probably putting too much pressure on yourself if you’re feeling bad about your writing when you’re in the middle of it (or even near the end, for that matter).
Remember, there is help to be had! Many of us benefit from external readers—beta readers, developmental editors, line editors—you don’t have to do all the refining yourself. You can receive feedback, new ideas, even some wordsmithing.
And About Poetry and Judgment
And as to poetry, think of it as an activity you immerse yourself in. If something beautiful comes out of it—hooray. And if you don’t want your poem to see the light of day, okay. Just don’t judge your poem, your abilities, or yourself. Approach your poetry with playfulness, a spirit of experimentation, and the sheer joy of creating something without it or you having to perform.
What’s your perspective? How do you relate to your writing? Does your perspective serve you and your writing projects or not? If not, what can you do to take the judgment out of it, take the pressure off, and have fun?