Anyway, I wanted to talk about something that has kept me sane lately. The thing is, I'm not very good at asking people for help. I was raised with a very 'by-your-own-bootstraps' philosophy, meaning we worked for our allowance and whatever else we wanted. In a family of eight children it kind of has to be that way. If you don't fight for attention and what you want you don't get it.
There are many fabulous things about this philosophy. In 99.9% of cases it really does take sheer determination and work to get to where you want to be, and I'm very accustomed to that idea and ready for it. However, I focus so much on the 'There is SO MUCH one person can do' that I get pretty de-winded when I come up against 'There is only so much one person can do.'
I'm not backing out on my bootstrap philosophy here, I really do believe that its the determined hard workers who make it. But what that philosophy needs to remember is that a person can make it so much faster and further if they have help.
I thought you were going to talk about beta readers, Sarah.
I am. I've started to get some beta reader feedback lately. Quite varied, actually. Very intense, very helpful, very kind. But I have this thing where as soon as I put something I created in front of someone else I start feeling like I have to apologize for it, like it's stupid, and I think "Gah! This sucks and I suck and I'll always suck and I'll never make it as a writer."
That is me (and you, maybe?) being ridiculous and forgetting that I'm not doing this by myself. Once I get the feedback from betas, the intense, the helpful, the kind, and start incorporating it, I see the project with new eyes. I see how it's awesome, where it is terribly flawed but also how to fix those flaws. Then the ball gets rolling and I think of new people to send it to once I put in all the current edits that can give me more edits that will make it even better and maybe this project has the promise of awesome I thought it had in the beginning.
And now I'm going to pause for a moment of self-congratulation and post a text conversation I had with an angel beta reader/bff last night.
Moi: I got hazel wood unicorn core, ten inches :)Oh, wait, wrong one...
Angel beta reader/bff: Your novel is brilliant. I read 35 pages today.Yeah, that's why I'm loving beta readers right now. Also I say seriously a lot in texts, apparently.
Moi: Seriously you have no idea how good that makes me feel. Seriously, like i said I always think its crap and its so nice to hear it might not be, especially from you.
ABRBFF: Um trust me, it might be the best thing I've read this year. It's making me hate you a little bit while aso feeling incredibly giddy and proud of you.
Moi: Ah! That makes me feel so good. I really need that. I've been editing it so I hope its getting better.
ABRBFF: I promise to lavish praise on you. Don't think my feedback will be wussy though ;) I intend to be honest on all points--as usual.
Don't forget you're not doing this alone, even though writing itself can be a very solitary process. Get help where you can, it makes things so much nicer.
And guys, I'm talking about all you all. Every comment, every new person stopping by, reminds me why I love this. So thank you.