Tonight Hoarding: Buried Alive is on TLC. If you haven't seen it it can be disturbing to watch. It's obvious to me that hoarding is an obsessive compulsive disorder because I can't imagine how anyone could live with so much stuff, filth and cluttered chaos in their life unless they had no control over it. Often hoarders choose their possessions over family and friends. And yet I feel compelled to watch this show every week!
We can get attached to our own words just as we get attached to "stuff"; sometimes it's hard to let go of those brilliant first words we wrote in a story, poem or essay. But I have found when I cut the words I'm most attached to that the right words have space to come into my writing. I've been in critique groups with writers who think their writing is beyond criticism and then there are other writers who will change their words based on every suggestion.
While I think it's great to have a strong idea of how good you think your writing is, sometimes listening and acting on the constructive criticism of fellow writers you admire can be very helpful especially if the same piece of writing gets rejected over and over again.
As Gayle Brandeis writes in Fruitflesh, "When someone does offer a critique, check your gut reaction. If you feel a resonance with the advice offered, it is probably worth listening to. If you feel yourself contract against it, pay heed to this as well. Trust your own impulses. Don't give your own power or vision away."
How do you deal with critique? How has it changed as you've grown as a writer? Now get back to work!
The Writing Nag