I’ve been writing my novel for seven years. I’ve lost count of the number of drafts; eight or nine, I’m no longer sure. I’ve had an editor look at it, I’ve changed the plot, I’ve re-organised the order, I’ve edited, I’ve cut, I’ve added and, finally, I feel it’s ready for Early Readers.
I’ve picked four reading friends or family. Four people who love books but who will be honest. That was my premise – tell the truth. I’m a big girl now, I should (I hope) be able to take the criticism. I need others to see my book from a Reader’s point of view as I want it to be good, readable and ready to send out into the world.
I thought giving my book over to people I know would be terrifying, like standing in front of them totally naked, but when I sent that email with the e-book attachment I felt oddly exhilarated.
Perhaps, more accurately, the word should be ‘freeing’. I was surprised that I’d had the courage to send it out. Over those seven years of writing I’d begun to wonder if I’d ever manage to finish it. It was easier not to finish it, easier to keep on saying I was still working on it, still tinkering – because then I didn’t have to show the world my lack of talent, my incoherent babblings. Then, I feared, if I showed those friends my book they’d be horrified by how bad it was and those friends would slowly slip away into the twilight and we’d not see each other again.
Right now, I’m in the honeymoon period. They’re still reading and I haven’t had any feedback. I can still delude myself that they might think it was OK, “readable but needs some work”. Right now, they’re still my friends.
Writers, it seems, are insecure people. That’s what I’ve read countless times and, here I am, in full-on insecurity mode. But, of course, I’m not sure I can put myself amongst that class of people.
You see, there’s that insecurity staring me in the face, challenging me, daring me to overcome it.