Stuff I have accomplished this last week:
1. Not much as far as word counts. There was a large societal-world-building conversation on Saturday night between my brother, the spouse, and myself. They asked really important questions and I was proud to say that I had the answers to a lot of them. But then Shane hammered away at something that's a fairly large problem. (I'm not sure whether marrying someone smarter than yourself is a good thing yet....) Luckily, he voiced his issue early on and I can easily, easily fix it moving forward.
Also got UGWP critiques back. For the most part I was super-happy about the questions that were asked, and only had one brief moment where I felt myself resisting an idea...but then I thought to myself: Aren't they just pointing out a section that you were worried about yourself? And I had to talk myself down from being defensive. (I always need a day or two after a critique to digest and Stop Being Defensive.)
Though the critiques of my work, and a couple of my fellow members' work as well left me with the question: How much do you trust that the writer is doing what they mean to do? This is a bigger question in a novel chapter critique, since as a reader/critiquer you often don't have the whole thing in front of you. With a short story you have the end, know the arc, and can adjust accordingly, with novel chunks you have no such luxury unless the writer tells you what's gonna happen. I realized that some of my critiques of others' work was based in the idea that I wasn't trusting the author to do what he/she was doing. For example, last session I gave one of my writer buddies a critique that switched the opening structure of the story around...and while I think a great deal of it can still work, now that I've read more of it, some of that critique isn't in line with what he's doing...so I don't feel as useful as I could've been.
2. Read quite a bit. Finished Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and made a good dent in The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. Something good that I know about my process: I have to just shut down and read sometimes, and I try not to beat myself about that. Especially when I'm reading things that give good inspiration to continue my own work.
How're you guys doing?