The year of workshopping

Unintentionally, 2012 has become the year of workshopping. I’ve got that short story workshop which goes for another … three weeks? And three friends and I decided to form a longer-term writing group, for sharing and writing purposes.

The trouble I’m having with both–aside from the usual insecurity issues–is figuring out what to share. I think I’ve finally got a short story I can share with the short story workshop (we workshop two stories per class, plus do exercises and have lecture). It’s an odd, odd little story which I can’t remember the inspiration for. I finished it up today, and will sit on it for a while to see if I still like it, but I’m glad to be done with that.

Next Monday is when my other writing group is to share something–up to 3000 words worth–and I’m very torn about what, exactly, to share. My first impulse is to share half of the first chapter of what’s now being called “Empire of Hunger.” I’m 14000 words deep into it, and have fairly reasonable momentum. However, I’ve got a massive fear that if I do share, I’ll get paralyzed. If people tell me the first bit is good, I’ll worry that the rest isn’t. And if people tell me the first bit is bad–well. I don’t think I’ll be able to go on. I could ask for minimal feedback, but then, is that really worth it? I am severely tempted to ask “do you like this, is it interesting” but I am afraid that is extremely loaded.

In the end I like it enough to have kept going for 14000 words in about 14-15 days. I would say that is something. Maybe no one else will like it, but isn’t it better for me to keep going?

Would it be a waste/cheating myself to be honest with the group and just say “I’d love to know what’s good about this, and if you like the characters, but at this time I’m not ready for in-depth critique?” Is that just asking for backpatting? Is now too dangerous to share it?

My other options:
1) write another short story and workshop that
2) workshop The Red Box

Pros of 1 are well, it’s easiest to workshop something that’s done and I’ve walked away from, and if I do that, I could have more stuff to keep in my submissions chest.

Cons of 2 are I’m really not inspired on short stories right now. ALL I want to write is Empire. Nearly all I want to think about is Empire.

Pros of 2 are I DO really want to revise that book this year, and it’s finished, except for needing work on the ending, so now is a good time to get feedback on it.

Cons of 2 are that by workshopping it, I highly risk diverting my momentum away from Empire, which I don’t want to do.

Ugh, I really, really don’t know.

Do you ever write AND revise a different story at once? How do you balance it? How do you not get mixed up in the worlds?

I’m so overthinking this. Our little writing group may not even be ready to go balls-out concritting each other’s work. Really, the sharing was more for milestones–just a way to encourage each other to be actually making solid work, and not just piddling around.

Overthinking, oh yes. My specialty, though.

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