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I joined a critique group over the weekend. It's a small group, four or five people, depending on who shows up. I submitted a really rough short story I had been working on for critique.
I really appreciated the feedback. I could tell that they knew what they were talking about, and they told me what was wrong without being mean. I came home that night jazzed about my writing, even though I would have to completely rework my story. But I needed that outside opinion. It made me look at the story in a different way. Things -- specific phrases and events -- I thought I needed to have in the story, I can now let go. I didn't realize just how much these things were getting in my way of writing a good story, a story that I'd actually enjoy. I was so excited about where my story could now go, I couldn't sleep. I kept getting out of bed to write down just one more note, one more phrase of dialog, on more piece of narrative.
It's so much fun to be in that place of being excited about what you write. I haven't been in that place with my fiction, or my writing in general, for a while. So, I will definitely be going back for more.