Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dudes, I'm Freaking Out!

So I have myself a few beta readers now and they're actually reading my story! Uh, yeah, I mean that's what I want, no doubt about it, but see, I'm used to handing off the first chapter or two for friends to read to get their opinion (and granted this was back when my writing sucked insert expletive) and the usual caveat was no reply back. Ever. Even though my writing is somewhat decent nowadays, I expected that to happen again after finding me a few betas.

Well, the first one that I hitched up with hasn't responded to me in two weeks, and I gave them the first six chapters three weeks ago. Gave them some time, thinking, okay, people have lives and they probably can't get to it right away. No biggie. Got an email saying they were still working on their notes and would send them to me in a few days. Sweet. So I waited, and waited, and still no email. That figures, I thought. Well, perhaps my story really does suck insert expletive. I tell peeps, if it isn't your thing, let me know so I don't go on wondering if you've read it or will finish, but no one ever does what I ask of them. Like, in my whole life. Ever.

I have now regarded the beta as a no go. But then I got another offer. Sweet! So far this beta has made it through the first several chapters and has sent me their notes, and boy did they have notes.

Now I'm freaking out!

Oh lawd!

Someone is actually reading my story, and making notes, and giving me their opinions, and I am scared that they'll say the book I've been scribbling away at for four years (off and on) sucks insert expletive. I've never had anyone read past the first chapter or two before, and now they are getting into the meat of the story and tearing it apart. I mean, this is what I wanted, isn't it? I wanted someone to read it with a critical eye and show me, in their opinion, where I need improving because I'm much too close to the work to see my mistakes. This is what I wanted.

And still do, and now I have three other peeps reading my story, and so now I'm freaking out more, and all I can think about right now is that there are more people reading my silly little 180k word (okay, not so little) story, and will they finish it? Is the story that ridiculously dumb and full of grammar mistakes? Why am I freaking out? Am I just in a particular mood right now and in a few days it'll pass? Maybe I need to drink some wine and calm the hell down.

Dude, just chill.
It makes me wonder if I'm the only one who has ever freaked out about having other peeps read their work or if this is normal? The more notes I get the more I think my writing is crap and that I should give up. Then I think, you idiot, don't give up over one person's opinion, or over several people's opinions. Believe your work is good, and whatever advice they give use only what applies to you. I know how I want my work to be better than anyone. Still, I don't know. Maybe it's the anxiety and depression I've been feeling lately, but I know this feeling will pass sooner or later. It has to. I worked to hard to let crits bother me. They're supposed to help, but in my mind right now for whatever reason is making them as if they are an attack on my ability to write, and they aren't even bad. I've even had compliments on many aspects of my writing. If I let crits, which are meant to help, bother me, then what am I going to do when or if I get published?

So perhaps I should take Jabba the Curbside Cat's advice up there. Work on a new project for a while to take my mind off of this one (I do have an idea for a new story, just need the motivation to start plotting it out), and chillax.


bigmouthrambles said...

Of course you can't give up. I almost went down that road, but for different reasons. Occasionally a crit would twist me up inside a little, but it never made me want to give up. It only made me want to *write better*. The more I hated a crit, the more I was determined to get crits I didn't hate. I listened closely, and it worked.

So, by the time I decided to go back to school I was getting more crits that I didn't hate (for fiction, not for poetry; I still get a few of those). But I still wasn't feeling good about it. 14 years of rejections is what did that, not the crits.

It was almost the same in school; except this time I kept getting high praise from all my writing instructors, and still all my efforts to publish looked pretty glum.

I know that's how it works, though, and I know it would be stupid to give up after my writing has improved so much. Like any writer, it still needs work, but I think I have developed a fairly competent skill, finally--after writing for most of my life.

So, no...not happening. I just need to find the right audience, that's all. I know they're out there. And so is yours.

I look forward to hanging out!

K.E. Skedgell said...

Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I know I'm making mountains out of mole hills out of this, and I'm sure this panic mode I'm in will pass and I'll be able to think more logically. I know I won't give up, even though right now everything feels wrong. In time, it will pass.

krystal jane said...

I go through thinking my writing crap almost every day. Then, I immediately say that I'm amazing. Sometimes I almost believe it. ^_^ I can't stand to get feedback. I hate waiting, I'm so impatient.

Working on something else is a GREAT way to take you're mind off of it. Last time I got feedback, I was still editing and sending out chapters as I finished. Then I edited again as they came in. Staying busy and being productive all help, especially when they're pointing out a problem.

It's always, always okay because you can fix it. You can't fix the issue if you don't know about it.

Diane Carlisle said...

I used to worry about giving my work to someone (anyone) to read. For the most part, I'd only written for my own pleasure and such. Then I joined the TWA and they suggested I get a writing critique group. I pondered for months, then I took the plunge and now they read my stuff, and boy was that hard the first couple times I had to hear, in person, what people thought of my work.

It'll get better, I promise! :)

Shayla Mist said...

Congrats, K. I'm so happy for you. Don't worry too much about the "evil" notes. It's hard getting criticism sometimes, but don't forget that's what makes us grow as people.
And, yeah, it's pretty tough when betas don't answer back. But, as a slow beta myself, I can tell you people, honestly, don't mean to hurt your feelings. For me, it's really hard and overwhelming to be in front of someone else's writing and realize they're depending on me for advice. It's quite a responsability and many don't realize this before they accept doing it. Many chicken out. Others get over it and start taking notes on what advice to give you. But that takes time and dedication.
Hope you'll find more great betas in the future.

K.E. Skedgell said...

Thank you for your replies, everyone. I've calmed down now and the crits don't bother me anymore. I can look at them now and think, ah, you're right, or, nope, don't agree, without being melodramatic. The initial sting has worn off and I think I'll be better now. I've had two betas finish reading and gave me their thoughts, one much more highly detailed than the other, but both valuable. Still waiting on a couple more but I'm in no hurry, I've decided to give the book and the series a break for now and start working on something else. Although, that something else has been very slow going as well. Still trying to get my groove back to write again.