Writers At Work 20th Anniversary — Matt Knight

I have so many memorable experiences during my One Page At A Time stint that it’s hard to pick one. So, why not start with the first – my first critique.

For someone who had never written a manuscript before, turning in my first chapter for critique was daunting, especially for a perfectionist. At the time, I was working as a biotech lawyer with an insane 60-80 hour work week (lawyers and litigation, what can I say). To finish the chapter, I carved out time in the early morning hours before work. Demonic compulsion, I quickly learned, was a necessary trait for a writer who worked a full-time job. I labored over that submission. Often, I was stagnant with self-doubt, afraid I couldn’t deliver the necessary elements of a knockout first chapter. When I finally submitted the work for critique, I was forced to wait a week. The passage of time was so unbearable I ate a box (okay, maybe four) of Girl Scout cookies. Thin Mints, because those babies are oh, so good.

My two-hour critique was filled with anxiety and a whole lot of sweating. Silently, I wrote down every comment and scrap of advice. In the end, I survived the ordeal, even continued with the class for another ten years. Still a perfectionist, but with thicker skin.



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