Nobody made me write a novel.

Beta reader responses are due within 6 days. 


Screen-Shot-2013-11-20-at-5.01.17-PM

I’ve discovered that noveling is making me bipolar. Normally, I love rollercoasters. And although rejection SUCKS, I can deal with rejection. My usual response is to try harder…to prove everyone wrong. In your face!  But, when the rejection/criticism hits on something I already feared to be true but have been in denial about, that’s when I need to learn to suck it up. I’ve waited a long three weeks for the critiques, and haven’t received anything yet. I imagine this is what querying will be like as well, although while I wait for responses from agents (that is, if my beta readers don’t tell me to keep my day job), I plan to start a new project without the constraints of NaNoWriMo and see where that takes me.

I think that to ask for criticism, you need to be strong already. But I also think there’s a fine line between putting yourself out there and welcoming criticism with open arms, and putting yourself out there and immediately entering a state of denial. The latter is what I really want to do, but I can’t take it back. I need the criticism (I have to keep telling myself that). I can’t get better without it. But those hard truths are, well, hard. And true.

Anyway, the picture above is supposed to be funny. Of course I won’t react that way to my beta readers, even if my primal survival instinct is to destroy the thing that threatens my well-being… and I’m talking about the well-being of my pride and confidence. I have vowed to welcome criticism with open arms.

So here are my own self-doubts that I fear may be true, because I think the first step in receiving criticism well, is to admit your faults ahead of time.

  • I’m afraid that participating in NaNoWriMo seriously injured my writing style. I’ve been a creative writer for as long as I can remember, and the fast-paced “just get the words down” style of NaNoWriMo has made me doubt my own success. Is the writing terrible? It’s better than it was the first two drafts, but, I’m very critical of my own writing, and I just have a feeling it isn’t up to par.
  • There are parts of the novel that may need to be entirely cut out.I know where they are, but there’s a stubborn part of me that wants to see if they work better than I think they do.
  • I’m afraid that my first attempt at noveling will be an embarrassment.
  • Along with the last one above, I’m afraid that I’ve wasted the last six months of my free time and sleep over something that’s not good enough.
  • I’m afraid that my main character isn’t likable or relate-able.

There it is, out in the world. The last three weeks have turned me into a stress-case of self-doubt. Maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe I’m doing this to myself. After all, nobody made me write a novel. At least I can say that I did.

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