My stomach was doing flips like a professional gymnast on a trampoline. This was not the final inspection on the Parris Island drill deck. It was moments before the critique section portion of our writer’s workshop, and my piece was on the chopping block. I sat at my
computer and launched the virtual meeting, fighting the urge to pee even though I had just gone.
This happens every time, friend. Something is aggravating, yet simultaneously exhilarating, about this nervousness before performances or critique sessions. I am all too aware of the importance of subjectivity. Being able to step back from your artwork to refine it takes a lot of fortitude. Have a group of other writers and professionals chime in, too? That is considered torture in some micro-nations.
Yet we endure it. And we should consider ourselves lucky to withstand those scathing reviews and reactions to our work. Work that can often contain some of the most vulnerable aspects of ourselves. Even the most tactful suggestions can feel like slings and arrows. With patience, gratitude, and some mentoring by the group leader, one can turn those arrows into tools that enhance their work more than they thought possible.
Grow through suffering. You can let it hold you down for a moment, but once it lets up, rid yourself of that brief veil of shame and move on!