Tonight is my first critique group.
I'm scared to death.
I've never been to a group like this before, and all the usual disparaging questions are running through my mind. What if they don't like me or want me there? What if they think I'm nuts for wanting to write? What if the stuff I write is no good?
What if...what if...what if I'm fooling myself when I think I can do this?
I have 5,024 neatly double-spaced words printed out to take with me. Four copies, fourteen pages each, expertly stapled in the upper left-hand corner. If nothing else, I KNOW I did that part right.
Can you become an author by stapling alone?
I'm almost as frightened of this group as I was when I tried out for the StoryTellers team at church. It's a necessary step, this group, just as writing for my audition was. But it doesn't make it any easier.
I have this innate fear of someone saying "You aren't good enough." Don't we all?
So tonight I will take my copies of the work I've been doing, and I will face my fears. I will go to the group and let them see what is the most important work I've done so far. I will be open and vulnerable.
I will take criticism without personalizing it.
And that will be the hardest part of all.