Inspired (read: prodded) by Shannon Whitney Messenger's post about fear, I'm going to tell you one thing I'm afraid of:
I know what you're thinking: I'm afraid of hearing that my story isn't that good, or that it needs a lot more work. That I'm afraid of criticism. And while prepping myself to hear these things takes a HUGE grittingoftheteeth/deepbreath/mightthrowup-ness, it's actually something else.
This is my third draft, and I'm planning on it being my final draft. I had planned on just running full throttle with it without a critique partner because I didn't have one. However, one post by Agent Mary from kidlit.com changed everything. The July Critique Connection. (Which is amazing and you should check it out;it's basically an opportunity to find critique partners of your genre.)
There I was. Finally with an opportunity to find a critique partner. Fleeting fancies of those friendships all the other blogger people talk about. And realizing, if I get a critique partner, she's going to find a gazillion things in my MS that I need to fix.
And this will not be my final draft.
I'm a very patient person. I really am. And while I had a few pity parties about my lack of critique partners, I kind of shrugged it off like, "Well, God hasn't brought the right critique partner into my life yet. Darn. Guess I won't have to revise the stupid thing yet again!" (Patient? Or in denial?)
As you may have guessed, I haven't written anyone yet (though there are some people I'm very interested in contacting). I'm just...yeah, scared. Scared of the new stage of writing I'll be entering when I find a critique partner. Scared that I'll do a lousy job, because I've never critiqued anyone seriously (though I am a real stickler for grammer, a trait never seen on my blog because, well, if I proofread this thing every day, you'd never get a post). Scared that I won't be able to help them. Scared that I'll be told my book needs a lot of work. A lot of work, when I was planning on querying in the fall.
Here I am, being honest about what I fear. By the time you read this, I may have psyched myself up enough to email a couple of people. Maybe.
Not sure that I have any questions for you. Encouragement and motivation is welcome. :) But do you have a critique partner? Has having one altered your writing schedule - as in, when it's finished? Is the delay worth it?
Because I don't know if I can handle more delay...
I'm scared, too. I'm getting more confident about my writing, though. I used to be afraid that my very particular boss would find fault with everything and basically tell me to rewrite everything. And this kept me from feeling confident that I could actually write something good... but right now he's been happy and I've been happy.
You definitely go for it. There is nothing to lose. Also, giving critiques improves your own writing more than you would ever guess at first.
I'm also voting that you go for it. First of all - you don't *have* to listen to the advice of the critique partner, so you don't really have anything to lose. Secondly, I'm not sure we're ever on the "last" draft of anything we write. There is always something to pick on, something that can be changed to the better. A constructive critique, from someone who knows your genre, especially, might open your eyes to things to look out for not just in this novel, but in future ones as well.
Good luck! :)
Oh yeah! Get that partner and share away! Sure, it's scary, but it will help you in the end. I understand the fear, but after the first crit, you'll see that the partner only wants to help and you'll be a better writer for it!
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