Upon recently workshopping my poem “Unheard: An Introvert’s Inner Monologue” (still working on the title), I realized how much I’ve changed not only as a person, but as a writer. First as a person, I noticed I no longer feel the way I felt when writing that poem in high school. I (usually) don’t fear what reactions my “well-crafted thoughts” might evoke, and I’ve learned not to give a damn about what other people think.
As a writer, I’ve noticed how much I used to allow workshops and critiques to dictate my pieces. Looking back on my first draft, there are quite a few phrases and images that I eliminated simply because a classmate suggested I do so. Other elements of the poem (that I’ve grown to hate) were added for the same reason. In fact, the title as it stands was specifically proposed by a professor. The current state of this poem has undergone many revisions, each based solely on what my peers and professor wanted. I didn’t think I had the power to disagree. It wasn’t until my CNF workshop that I learned the power and choices were up to the writer alone. My professor always reminded us that critiques and workshop discussions were simply suggestions aimed at inspiring the writer to revise their piece in a way that feels right to them. As I return to this poem yet again, I will revisit the very first draft and rescue any darlings I’ve killed that belong in the upcoming rendition. I’ll take critiques and suggestions into consideration, but will make sure to preserve the integrity and personal meaning of my poem. I’ll make sure that it remains my own.