I had my first meeting with my writing professor this afternoon. We discussed the story I turned in earlier this week (which you can read on my previous post). She gave me some very constructive criticism, which I mostly agree with, as many were changes that I realized need to be made. The hard part will be actually making those changes.
In the meeting (and afterward, as I drove home), I contemplated some habits about myself that I’ve definitely noticed before but that bothered me anew today:
1. I’m a dork. Seriously. Don’t laugh. When I’m nervous, I talk too much and say stupid things. Dude, I do that even when I’m not nervous. I need a better filter between my brain and my mouth. Harvin believes it’s because I’m so emotional and passionate. Is there a way to not be that? Should I attempt to be less than what I naturally am in an attempt to better myself?
2. I’m really, really hard on myself. (See above point.) I berated myself all the way home (a 40-minute drive) for comments I made during the meeting, and I’m sure they were not nearly as bad as I imagined them to be. This happens frequently. I can relive moments from months ago (that are probably long forgotten by the person with whom I was speaking) and literally wince at my own stupidity. I’m doing it now.
3. I state the obvious way too often. In stories, I tell without showing. I don’t trust my readers enough to come to conclusions. I use cliches with reckless abandon (see?). In conversation, I do it, too…not because I mean to be insulting. Instead, reiterating someone’s comment just makes sense to me, but I’ve realized recently that it is insulting. I need to do better.
I feel as though this post has quickly become Haley’s Self-Help Guide or perhaps a list of New Year’s resolutions. I’m not sure. But the first step is admitting this faults, right? Now, to be more conscious of what I’m saying and doing in an effort to fix these issues.
Perhaps I should cut all caffeine out of my life. While I’ve done well eliminating caffeinated coffee, I’m still addicted to the Coke Zero, and caffeine definitely makes me lose my inhibitions more. Perhaps I’ll buy a muzzle as well. Perhaps I’ll make an attempt to stop being so blasted dramatic, too. 🙂
I do know one thing. Fiction writing is difficult. I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge (in the long-term, at least). It’s hard work and a painful process that I don’t really enjoy. I don’t really have stories inside of me just dying to get out. I struggle to finish anything I start. I’ve severely stressed myself out this week in an effort to just get two assignments turned in. I’ve been disappointed in myself, and I hate that.
I’ll never be Marquez or Fitzgerald or even Rowling or Meyer. I don’t know if I should even continue writing fiction after this class is finished. I don’t know that I need to do any sort of writing beyond that which is necessary for self-reflection and gaining insight in my own life.
Perhaps my strength lies in analyzing literature instead of attempting to write it. We’ll see. I’m not giving up yet. Over the next 3 weeks, I’ll have 3 more meetings with my professor, as well as other classes in which we’ll discuss other aspects of writing. Perhaps I’m just frustrated, and I’ll be able to clear my head enough to do an excellent revision of which I can be proud.