Day 181 – Workshop Troubles

Last week a met up with a friend to go over her most recent picture book draft. It didn’t go well. She said I didn’t understand the issue she was trying to solve. I claimed I did that she just didn’t like what I had to say and told her that interrupting my brainstorm session wasn’t going to get me or her anyway. She got grumpy (we writers tend to do that). I got exasperated (another thing to which writers are prone) and finally she said, “I’m just tired of getting 15 different answers from 15 different people.” Which made my laugh out loud because that is the nature of workshop and we all hate on it a little bit. Occasionally, you get the feedback you need, but it’s rare.

This happens because what we get on the page is merely a fragmented version of the vision we see in our heads. Those fragments have gaps and each person you share your work with fills in those gaps with their own vision¬†which they then have to put into words which puts gap in the vision they have of your vision. The end result is a mash up of your fragment with this other persons fragments which then leads to a whole lot of frustration and feeling misunderstood. Anybody who has experienced workshop knows what I’m talking about.

It’s the only method we have to work with. When it works, it’s beautiful. When it doesn’t, it hurts. And unfortunately, each of us only has our fragments to give each other and they are rarely adequate.

We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding. – Rudyar Kipling

Prompt:  Write a conversation where everyone involved misses the point.


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