So . . . I have entered a couple of writing competitions. And I expected to do that thing I do, where I think I’ve picked out my best work and I’m confident in it . . . until about five minutes after I’ve sent it away. And then I turn into a neurotic mess of insecurity.
Because that is a thing I do.
Oddly, that hasn’t happened. At least, not with what I sent away. And I think it’s because I usually send my pieces away for feedback from a wide range of friends and writing-friends. Which, yes, is scarier than sending my work to a publisher and hoping I’m good enough.
Why? Because the worst thing a publisher can do is say “no”. Maybe it’s because someone else was better, or I’m not a fit for what they publish, or they liked me but didn’t have the room/budget, or maybe they thought what I wrote was great but just didn’t like it. Regardless, it’s not a reflection on me as a person.
When I send things in for feedback, though . . . that’s scary. Because it could, maybe, change how I’m perceived by that friend or acquaintance. It could reflect on me as a person. Or there might be some criticism that’s really hard to take. Or maybe someone I know will tell me that my personality got in the way of my ability to tell a story the way I wanted to. Or maybe I just wrote something that was crap, and someone who actually likes me and cares about my feelings needs to tell me that.
So, yes. Feedback is scary, but is also exhilarating when you hear something good, or really constructive. When someone points out something really kind of mind-blowing about your writing that you never even noticed before. But the interim, the period between handing something over to someone for feedback and having it handed back is a time of terror.
So please try to imagine the pants-pissing that is going on over here at the thought of meeting with an actual, published writer and having them workshop my writing with me. I’m honestly amazed that my body is still working to keep me living with the level of freak-out that is going on. I think I need to find (or possibly invent) a word stronger than “neurotic” to adequately describe myself right now.
But at least half the freaking is a result of excitement, so. There’s that. Wish me luck?
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