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.