Earlier this year I happened to stumble across a writing blog, Go Teen Writers. And while I explored this new blog, I noticed a writing competition that had just started. Every two weeks or so a new writing prompt would be posted, and the competitors had to write 100 words after that phrase.
It interested me, and I joined in a few times, though not consistently. I wasn't disciplined enough for that. But I did well enough, and even placed a couple of times. But for the most part, I never really though about the contest. It was just another way to practice my writing.
In the meantime I kept writing for myself too. Mainly I worked on my novels, though I attempted short stories too. Normally I don't show my writing to anyone, but I decided to show one of my stories to Mum.
I was filled with pride in my work when I handed my laptop to Mum. Mum read through my writing, then gently told me that it was good, but not a short story. She suggested several ways I could change it and make it better, more what I wanted.
I was crushed, and put on my best 'I'm upset but pretending not to be' face, mumbled something about thinking about it, and promptly decided not to even attempt short story writing again.
But I did, and with much better success than before, thanks to Mum's suggestions which I finally made myself use.
A few days ago an email dropped into my inbox from the Go Teen Writer's blogger, Stephanie Morril informing me that I had won a 5 page critique due to my having joined in with the competitions and having placed.
I told Mum and Charlotte at once. Charlotte screwed up her nose when she heard what my prize was.
"Who wants five pages of criticism?" she asked in scorn.
I attempted to explain what a critique was, but she still maintained that she wouldn't like 5 pages of criticism.
Mum considered this, then asked, "How do you think you'll be able to take this criticism? You didn't like it when I made suggestions."
I have no idea how I'll feel about the suggestions made on my writing. Will I get all uptight and defensive again? Or will I listen to the suggestions and act upon them? I sincerely hope I'll manage the latter, but, knowing me, I'll probably do the former!