IWSG FEB 5, 2020: Photo Inspiration

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

QUESTION: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

I was inspired by neither photo or art. As if by magic, I entered a three dimensional scene pulsing with excitement. Ultimately, I wrote, presented, and crashed.

MY ANSWER: During a recent writing workshop, I experienced something new and fresh: an altered reality. My mind was flooded with people and voices. I was stone cold sober.

Without focus, I gazed through an open window. My mind pulled me into a cozy cove of brilliant images and crisp sounds. My imagination stimulated as never before. Energy flooded my brain and thrilled my body. Words tumbled onto the page.

I had entered a sacred space of creativity that alluded me forever.

Surrounded by friends, I volunteered to read my 15 minute written sample. There were gasps of appreciation. My imaginary white feathered wings stretched; reached and extended as the warm thermal air of fellowship guided my flight. I released all protective armor as I absorbed their approval.

Without warning, the sharp tip of an arrow pierced my heart. The dark shaft of criticism dropped me to the ground with a thud. Damaged. Wounded. My innocence seeped into the earth.

This was 18 days go. As the hours passed I realized the critical comment was intended to enlighten, not damage. The truth did nothing to sooth my pain.

Have you exposed your innocent inner being only to be completely blindsided with criticism? Did you recover? How? I invite you to tell your story.


14 thoughts on “IWSG FEB 5, 2020: Photo Inspiration

  1. I get it. I just had someone tell me that they hated my first book. Despite all the positive feedback other folks have given me, it’s hard to shake that one comment off. Maybe you could write down all the positive things people said on one side of a piece of paper and that one critical comment on the other. Visually, you can see how the positives outweigh the negatives. Just an idea. Maybe one I’ll try myself 🙂

  2. One time this writer I admired told me if she’d bought my ms instead of reading an online copy, she would have thrown it across the room. That’s just one incident. I have many many more. Today, I have to remind myself that the only opinion that really matters is mine. Is that an easy conviction to stick to? No. It takes work. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else can.

    1. Hola mi amiga (hello, my friend),
      Oh, that person’s comment must have hurt. I agree, these painful experiences force us to believe in ourselves and keep going or quit. Good advice. Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment.

  3. That altered state of reality, while being sober, sounds like a normal day to me 😉
    As for the critical comment: I regularly send out my work to trusted beta readers who know how to tear a story apart — showing the good, the bad, and the stuff that needs improving. I read through the comments, usually thinking “Oh,really?”, make notes, and then leave the book in a drawer (I print it out to compare their notes easily and to be ready for rewrites) for a month or longer — until I can look at the book with fresh eyes and not feel the critique as a personal affront. Distance helps and those who give helpful critique makes one a better writer. Good luck!

    Ronel visiting on IWSG day Project Evergreen

    1. Hi Ronel,”
      So, normal is living in an “altered state of reality”? That is super cool. Especially for writing. This event was my first time and it was exciting.
      I like the way you process the comments. Thank you for co-hosting our Feb IWSG blog hope & making time to visit.

  4. Hi,
    I’m smiling because that happened to me too. My very first published short story received awesome comments from many people. The publisher wrote me that people were reading and leaving comments that had risen above all the other short stories that she’d ever published in ratings. And the comments were excellent. Then, one person from out of the blue wrote a scalding comment that ripped me apart. I was devastated. Out of about 80 or 90 comments there was this one. The publisher offered to delete the comment from this person. I said no, don’t delete it. That’s when I really grasped that I had to learn how to deal with negative criticism.. That one blog comment is still on the publishers blog today along with all the rest of the comments. I even answered the critic but not in a demeaning way. I realized that that was her opinion and I had to learn to not let other peoples opinions stop me from doing what I was called to do.
    I believe today that what hurt the most was that I was caught on my blindside. I didn’t expect it. That is when we’re hurt or disappointed the most.
    Now it is time for you to get back up and start writing.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    1. Hi Pat,
      Yes, this person caught me on my blindside. That was the point I was trying to make. In this particular writing workshop, I allowed myself to be completely vulnerable and wow did it hurt.
      I admire how you handled the comment. I also reached out to the person. I’m following your advice and have started writing. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  5. I have had some hurtful comments in a prior critique group. I try to remember what people think about what they read is so subjective. We can’t take any one comment too seriously.

    1. Hi Natalie,
      I agree, the reader’s comments are subjective. Influenced by what’s going on in their lives. Yup, we can’t let any one comment (or a few comments) get us down. Thank you for your visit & taking time to comment.

  6. I had someone mock a word choice in a rough draft that had not been editing. I mean I knew it needed another world but scoff and laugh that was the best choice I could make? No it is not the best choice it was a bad choice but it was during the get the story told bout of writing… This was a group reading too. I didn’t comment but said thank you and shrugged it off. I don’t think they meant to sound as mocking as did but instead gave a first reaction response. The rest of what they said was very helpful. Happy IWSG@

    1. Hi Juneta,
      The critique process is tough. Even though we are prepared for some criticism, it often hurts; especially, if the person is mocking. Thank you for taking time to visit & sharing your experience with me.

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