For those of you who don’t know, I am majoring in Creative Writing.
Yes, I know that English is one of the hardest majors to get a job in. No, I am not even considering changing my major. Yes, I am perfectly fine with being a waitress at a motel and writing on the side (actually, I don’t know if I am, but I guess I’ll find out if I ever get in that situation).
But, besides the rather annoying questions I get in-between saying “I am a Creative Writing” and saying “Marking double major,” there is one other thing I dread about my English major.
The day when the story that you have cradled and nurtured to some form of decency is put out into the world. That precious little child you equally love and despise is placed under careful readers’ eyes.
The day your piece gets workshopped.
What is a Writer’s Workshop? Well, you see, it is where other talented and untalented writers edit and critic your piece for its weaknesses and strengths. Needless to say, it is utterly terrifying.
Or at least, I thought it was.
Crazy enough, in most cases, the fellow writers end up saying exactly what you never realized. They provide the extra set of eyes that you never had. They open your eyes to some insane flaw or praise you didn’t know was there. (For instance, in my workshop today, my eyes were open to the fact that one girl was in college, even though the family had no way to pay for it.)
Sure, that doesn’t make the thumping of your heart any slower or stop the quivering of your hands, but it is nice to know. Actually, it’s amazing to know. The fellow writers in the room genuinely care about your piece and if they don’t, or you believe they don’t, who says you have to follow their advice to the T?
The important thing to remember is that when you go into a Writer’s Workshop (or any equivalent scenario for that matter), doing what is best for your work to thrive-whether that is ignoring all the advice or just taking some or even taking all-is most important. Not what protects your ego.