My TWSO experience (*) was a lot of things. Immensely valuable to my writing. Over in a flash. The grounding force I needed creatively over these last few crazy months.
And, most pointedly, over.
The last ten months went by so quickly, I would’ve thought it was last week that I first wrote this post following my first day of The Writer’s Studio Online. And it’s almost been a year since I found out that I was accepted into the program and my journey going back to school started!
Following last week’s post, in which I admitted to dabbling in procrastination, I submitted my final assignment, a twenty-page portfolio showing how my writing has developed over the course of this program. Before finalizing my portfolio, I video-met with my mentor one-on-one to discuss all things writing, and she told me how much she had seen my writing improve since September.
And I whole-heartedly agreed with her.
Writing my portfolio, I was proud to see how my writing had developed. One of the main points of feedback I got from my peers early on is that my writing is fast-paced and easy to read, but that they wanted to slow down a little. Sit in some thoughts and feelings, and get to know who Romi really is. I think I really achieved that in the writing I did closer to the end of the program and I was really happy to have submitted work that I am proud of and shows my process.
A rare, quiet moment
Fast-forward to today—our last TWSO session was June 2—and I’ve gotten the wind knocked out of my sails a bit. A perk of the program is having an excerpt of my writing published in an anthology. I am currently working with the fiction editor on my piece … and it’s really hard, you guys! This is the first time I’m having anyone look at my work in this novel for editing purposes. And there are a lot of markups!
I can handle it. I know that I can. But to be honest, I didn’t choose this editor. And it’s really important to find someone to edit your work that you mesh with. Not saying that I don’t mesh with this person, but they are blind to my work so far. They don’t know Romi like I do! Writing and editing is such a personal process, even though this story is much less personal to me than my first editing experience. It’s hard to not get immediately offended, especially when I don’t know this person.
I wanted to put together a few tips that I have found helpful lately. They have appeared as a common theme through a lot of my life, in the conferences and school meetings I’ve attended. I think you’ll find that they are applicable to many areas of life, now that I think about it.
Don't Get Defensive
My initial reaction is to reply to this person and tell her why I am right and why this is amazing.
But I haven’t done that, nor will I. She is just doing her job, and we are supposed to work together to make this entry as good as it can be!
Tip: If someone says something that you don’t agree with or like, take a breath. Sleep on it. Tackle it with a level head after you’ve processed what they’ve said and maybe even read it again!
It's Never as Personal for Someone Else
I said above that writing is such a personal process. As everything in life is, really. You are always the one apt to care most about your passions, your issues and your own well-being. Things that are important to you are going to be more important to you than to anyone else. No one will ever experience something the same way that you do.
Tip: To be truly empathetic, relate to someone’s feelings, not their exact situation.
This phrase came from Tessa Virtue at last week’s Atelier Digital 2020 conference, though it is something I’ve known for a while. Tessa was talking about visualizing the goal, specifically when she was training for the Olympics, and she reminded everyone to make sure and picture all of the gritty details on the way to your end goal. To the extent that her and her skating partner practiced falling!
Tip: Not failing is not reality. Failure is natural, inevitable. Build a narrative around it. Practice falling. -Tessa Virtue, Olympic Figure Skating Champion
Now that I’ve sat with the comments I received for my Emerge submission overnight, I’ve managed to remind myself that I am in the middle of the gritty details. This is where, when I persist, I will achieve the shine. Working together with someone else to polish my work and transform it to its best form, is a gift.
Regardless of whether it’s hard.
We all do hard things.
I received feedback all throughout my TWSO experience, with as much grace as I could manage at the end of the day. I am making the choice that this won’t be any different.