The Process of Self-Discovery

by RS on May 23, 2014

“Writing is not just a process of creation. It is also a process of self-discovery” ― Cristina Istrati

Once a month a writing group meets at our local library. I’ve gone twice and I’m debating whether I should go to the subsequent meetings or not. They’re a lovely group of people, but none of them are writers. For them writing is a hobby and this group is really all about ego-stroking. They read their work and everyone claps and says how charming their story was and there’s no discussion of technique, where it needs improvement. and so forth.

It’s a shame because there’s a lot of potential among some of them, but they seem uninterested to delve into critiquing or any discussion of craft. I was tempted to bring in a short story so we could discuss it in detail, but I think my efforts would appear as if I’m attempting to disrupt the group. I already experienced that with another group unrelated to writing so it’s best I go with the flow.

How is this related to the above quote? I chose to read a chapter from Julius that I chucked out a couple of years ago when I decided that Julius needed to be redirected into a very different story. The meeting’s theme was about treasure and this section centered on an attic discovery.  After I finished reading the piece, one member said, “This was a chuck out?” I explained that the story had dramatically changed and that much of what I had written was no longer needed. There were a lot of questions, and later, I was taken aside by one gentleman who said that the set up in the attic intrigued him, but was also interested to learn more about my fascination with the Rosenbergs and the Spanish Civil War.

It was very satisfying to hear this, and after some mulling I realized that I’ve been beating myself up too much, listening to that snotty inner critic’s ridiculously high expectations. So onward I trudge to improve the story and hold all self-judgements at bay, but also to make new discoveries about myself through my writing.

2 comments
D D Falvo
D D Falvo

I love this, Beca. You intentionally executed a masterful stroke which forwarded the group's growth. All by focusing on your expectations for yourself, instead of trying to change their expectations of themselves. It was genius, and now they are excited to learn more. Brava.


RebecaSchiller
RebecaSchiller moderator

@D D Falvo Thanks, D. I knew it would resonate with you. I really hope that I can get a few of them interested in an off-shoot of a group to discuss craft, and pick apart short stories. I think it would be good for them as well as for me. I just might post something in the library and see if I can a few people interested in a smaller group. 


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