Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG—But will they love it??

It's that time again, the time when we release our fears and insecurities out into the wilds (I sometimes worry that we are releasing them into the wilds so they can go and breed more fears and insecurities, like there's a colony of fears and insecurities just preying on the wayward writer now...). If you haven't seen this before, be sure to thank our founder Ninja Captain Alex, and check out the co-hosts Hart Johnson, Chemist Ken, Candilynn Fite, Terri Rochenski, Clare Dugmore, and Lilica Blake.
 
I haven’t been that insecure lately. I mean sure, it hurts when I don’t make the final round of a contest (Why pitchmadness, why?), but I’ve not made enough contests that it doesn’t really crush my heart—I’ll admit to that tummy turning did-I-make-it feeling this last time through pitchmadness—but something that is almost as adrenaline inducing is seeing someone who is reading your work.

I have a bunch of well read, non writer betas. No, I mean a TON. And when I hand them new manuscripts, all I can think is “Do they love it?” (also, I wonder if they’re just being nice—well, I guess I used to wonder that, my betas universally didn’t like one particular story and they let me know in no uncertain terms, so at least I know they aren’t “just nice”).

I can only imagine how magnified this feeling is going to be when it’s people I don’t know. When my work is out with publishing professionals—you know, agents—I find myself constantly mumbling a mantra “Please like my work, please like my work.” It’s so silly. I don’t need them to like my work, (say it with me now) I need them to LOVE my work. One nice thing about querying taking so long, is that the part of me that obsesses wears out. It’s inefficient. So I spend about a week being a basket case, and then I MOVE ON. But the one thing that sticks with me even after months and years (yes, I’ve gotten query letters back after a full year) is the hope that people love my work. I guess it’s selfish of me to want to be the pleasant surprise in the slush pile, but it’s the thing I can’t control.

11 comments:

  1. It's hard enough to hand my words over to people I've been critiquing with for a while. Sending it out to strangers would seem so much worse. But at least you're doing it. Congratulations on that.

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  2. It's times like this you have to remember you're writing for an audience, and there will be readers who love your work, no matter what you have to endure with contests and agents. Keep the end goal in sight, and you'll make it.

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  3. Lol! I don't think the obsessive part of me could EVER wear out... (hence therapy ;))

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  4. It's scary opening yourself up to others, whether friends, family, betas, agents or publishers. It is impossible for everyone to love your work but it can still feel personal when you receive rejection. Keep going and congratulations on your achievements so far.

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  5. I don't think it's selfish to want to be the lucky one in the slush pile, or any of that. I mean, we're writers. We're going to be hoping people love our work pretty much forever. O_o

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  6. I can remember my first review from a stranger...people thought I'd lost my mind bragging about getting five stars from someone who doesn't like me. Sounds weird, but it's cool.

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  7. I find it so much easier to submit to strangers than have people I know read. It's great you know your betas aren't just being nice, too, because there is always that element of wonder.

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  8. i lowered my expectations. i didn't have many reader friends to give my work to, and the relatives who did read it said nothing... which i took as they weren't wowed by it or they didn't feel competent to comment. strangers give honest opinions which we need, friends may leave out some of the things they didn't like... and everyone will have a different opinion, regardless. take all opinions, mix well, taste, and swallow what agrees with you and spit out the stuff you can't stomach - ha ha ha, like that analogy? end result is a yummy story, right?

    hope things are going well. you can always shoot me an email to bounce things off me =)

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  9. We all want to be that pleasant surprise! It's in our writerly DNA, we need the public's approval. But you have the correct attitude, you know yourself and you know how to work through your ups and downs. That'll get you far! Best of luck!

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  10. This whole writing/rejection process has changed me--as I think it changes all of us. It's amazing how MUCH we grow by facing rejection, waiting for months, and making ourselves push onward. If it wasn't so hard, I'd say it's a beautiful thing! (LOL) I think we discover how strong we really are when we keep trying and keep having faith and look for the positive in the small things. You're one of those extra strong people, Rena. You WILL DO THIS. And I can't wait to see you succeed and continue to grow!

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  11. the part of me that obsesses wears out

    This was so true with me, too. You can only keep up that level of neurosis for so long.

    I've been wondering about whether i should read reviews of my work when it comes down to it. I haven't decided yet

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