I’m so mad, I could spit liquid smoke. Not because I couldn’t get it together this morning–. I feel completely disheveled and I’m quite certain I look like a hot mess today. Not because it might snow four inches tonight and I don’t want to miss work tomorrow. And not just because I dropped a big section of my homemade banana bread on the floor (although the loss of food was the tipping point–). I’m mad because,…I’m mad…well, I guess I’m not really angry at all. I’m disappointed.
I did something I adamantly said I would NOT do: I let a few people read a chapter of my book. Referred to as “They” from here on–they said, “Oooo, can I read a chapter? I’d really love to see what you’ve been working on,” or words to that affect. I countered by saying, “Do you know what kind of responsibility comes with reading a bit of my draft novel? I will want feedback and comments,” I said. “I’ll expect discussion about the characters, etc., and not just you saying you liked it or hated it.” They gasped, seemingly offended. “Nooo, I promise I’ll give you lots of feedback! Hurry send it! I can’t wait to read it,” they said. Riiiiight.
As you might guess, I didn’t get my feedback. Well, I’ll be more exact and say, they gave me the “I liked it” comment and that was the end of that. I mean…C’mon!!! Are you kidding me!? [Gasp!] Okay, to get over my disappointment, I’m going to do the following. You might benefit from these tips, too. But remember, these lessons are primarily for me.
1: Keep your story close and keep them at arm’s length. Don’t let them read your unfinished work. Humph. When it’s published, they can download it onto their E-readers.
2: Manage your expectations. Remember, they are not analysts or literary PhD’s. You shouldn’t expect a lot from folks who aren’t writers.
3: Toughen up! Try not to be so ultra sensitive about your writing. You know if your work is good or not. So, skip the casual validation and seek a professional opinion from an agent or professional editor.
4: Stay active with a healthy Writers’ Group. Those like-minded folks will provide you with the depth of discussion and analysis you need to improve.