Dear Writer Who Left My Writer’s Group,
I was sad when you dropped out of our writer’s group. You had good input, and I really liked your story.
I felt bad about it, like it might be partly my fault. See, at our last group, you got a tough review from another writer. And you also got a tough review from me. I don’t think I remembered to tell you how much I liked your story, and I should have. Maybe that would have helped.
See, I’ve been there. Two months into my writer’s group, I got a tough review from the same person. I fought tears during group, trying to put on a brave face, like it didn’t bother me. I thought I did a good job, but other people could probably tell how upset I was. I know I could tell how upset you were.
After that group, I thought about just giving up. Not writing anymore. It seemed pointless. I mean, I’ve been doing this for awhile, and if I’m not where I want to be, then why bother? I almost dropped out of group.
Then, I got together with a friend, who said all the things I needed to hear at that moment. That the critiquer was just trashing my work because he was jealous of how awesome I am. That he didn’t know what he was talking about. That obviously he was just an idiot with no taste. I mean, my friend was wrong. But it got me out of that funk I was in.
See, the problem was that my critiquer was right, and I knew he was right. That’s why it stung so badly. He wasn’t right about everything, of course. But he was right about enough that I knew I needed to take a good hard look at my writing.
I’m going to confess; I’ve been a lazy writer. I haven’t always worked as hard on a piece as I could. And should. My anger inspired me to be a better writer.
My critiquer is now a good friend. And I really count on his input, because I know he won’t sugar-coat anything. It still stings from time to time, but I don’t take it personally anymore.
So back to you, writer who left. I was going to tell you all this. I wanted to contact you after group and let you know that we’ve all been there, that I like your story, and encourage you to keep going.
But your profile on Meetup didn’t allow me to send you a message, or give me any way to contact you. And then you left our group, so now I really can’t get in touch.
I’m sad you left, but I have to remember that the world doesn’t revolve around me. Maybe it really went down the way I think it did, or maybe you had to leave for a completely unrelated reason.
Either way, know that I’m thinking of you, and I’m hoping I see the best version of your story out there someday.
And know that next time, I’ll make sure I tell other writers that I like their work, try to end on a positive note. Because maybe you would have left anyway. But if I had said that it was good work, and then you left, I wouldn’t feel bad.
I’d just figure you weren’t ready.
Best of luck, wherever you are.
P.S. This comic has been stuck in my mind, so I thought I’d share it.