As I am about to begin my first class in my professional career for creative writing, I am wallowing in fear over the criticism. I'm protective over the series I've worked on for the past five years. I recognize my ability as a writer far exceeds my peers in pacing, characters, and meaning, but I know my plots can sometimes feel lackluster and boring. I find myself already putting up shields in the class reads of the assignments I haven't even written yet. I want to insult my work before anyone else can, and admit it's imperfections first to prove my talent above others. I am the first to admit that as a writer, I'm a bit pretentious. My middle school fame on Wattpad and praise from teachers throughout life has fed my ego to an insufferable level.

But then I remembered my first editor. She never read my chapters before I posted them on Wattpad, but she would read the snippets of dialogue I thought were funny and would hear each and every detail on the happenings of the chapter. That person was Colby, a fellow fanfic writer, classmate, and amazing friend. I remember calling her my "writing consultant", but she was truly more than anything my editor. I guess I didn't view her as a stigmatized editor because she never once said a negative comment. Before she could even reject something, she was already replacing it with a better idea. It made me excited to write. It made me excited to read the text messages when she finished a chapter. When I would hit a road block, Colby would always know exactly what to add to keep me going. I've always thought of writing as such an individual passion, but I was wrong, and that's becoming more and more evident now as I try to write alone and can't. Maybe it was my fingertips stroking the keyboard and gliding the pencils, my mind crafting the fluidity of the sentences, but it was Colby's genius and ideas that made that story so great.

Hemingway has been my favorite author for many years. He represents that independent, drunken, sarcastic part of my soul that only I have truly seen. I'd reread A Moveable Feast enough to relate to his ego against the highly popular F. Scott Fitzgerald, a regular frenemy. Then I learned something that has forever changed my perspective- Fitzgerald edited Hemingway's first novel, The Sun Also Rises. Apparently, before Fitzgerald got his hands on it, the novel was a total mess. Hemingway, like myself, has an incredibly distinctive writing style that he wasn't forced to change, as I never hope to change mine. But Fitzgerald fixed the weakness in the aspects of the story from a place of care, not criticism. Just like Colby always was.

This is something I need to keep in mind when venturing into a more public space of writing this semester. I am a good writer on my own. I have that natural talent. But it doesn't all need to rely on my tiny shoulders. Hemingway is also a good, naturally talented writer. It was Fitzgerald that made him excellent. It was Colby who made me excellent.