A while ago I went to lunch with a author friend of mine and we needed a pen. When the waitress handed over a red pen, my friend asked for a different color, "Red is very unlucky," she said.
I think we all remember the first time we were critiqued. I remember mine. It was in grade 9. I had joined the journalism class and wrote a story for the school newspaper. When I asked the upitty blonde (no offense) editor if she liked it. She stuck up her nose and said you printed half of it and used handwriting for the rest.
The second time came much later. After my second son was born (I said much later - the first one did me in for awhile), I took a creative writing class. I submitted part of a chapter that I had been working on for months. It got totally torn apart. It was all I could do not to sob in front of everyone.
A few years ago I took the first chapter of my current project and submitted it to my local library's writer-in-residence program. I was totally intimidated. He was an author. He'd written two books that were literary fiction, not just fiction but literary, and here I was asking him to read a chapter of my YA fantasy novel.
I drove to our first meeting not knowing what to expect, but I vowed that I would not get upset. I would not show discouragement or get emotional. When I got to the door of the conference room, which had a window on it, I saw my chapter. It was covered in red pen. I stopped for a second and regrouped. "This is good," I said. "This is how I'll learn."
Yes there was a lot of red but I learned so much. I continued going back to that writer and the following year I had another writer-in-residence read it, he had a color code. There was lots of red ink and a few other colors but in the end I learned so much from the red pen, but I still don't like to use them.