To of you who’ve ever struggled with writer’s block (so, literally all of you then?), let’s talk about a very delicate and frightening part of the process that I may have mentioned before: beta readers.
Right now I’m churning out chapters at a fairly encouraging rate, and because my own opinion of my own writing can’t logically be trusted, I’ve chosen two trustworthy beta readers to evaluate the chapters as I produce them. Now, neither person is a writer themselves, so I don’t get any technical critique, but it’s nice to have some honest feedback about how the story is unfolding and what works and what doesn’t. Problem is, these two readers are my coworkers, so the only place I can show them anything is at work. Problem: someone noticed.
No, I don’t mean we’re in hot water for talking books during our downtime, I mean our supervisor is also an avid reader and she’s beginning to wonder why she’s not involved in the read-share. I hedged as best I could, because the real answer is, “I neither trust you nor value your opinion.” Oof.
Truth be told, I didn’t want to let people read it all. Stupid, right? I wanna publish it, but I don’t want anyone to read it. I fantasize about it being read worldwide, and then I don’t even let my friends near it. Letting in two beta readers was difficult enough. I didn’t expect people to start asking why I didn’t pick them.
You know why I’m not married, apart from being a repellent for commitment? Because choosing bride’s maids sounds like actual hell. Choosing beta readers is turning out to be just as awful. Eventually you start running out of polite ways to turn people down. My supervisor, my friends, my own boyfriend… “We’re just waiting for you to show us.”
I understand that someday my book might actually get published and, fates willing, thousands of complete strangers will be allowed to judge me. But, I mean, that’s the future! That’s after everything is written and pulled apart and torn up and eventually put back together and polished up to a finished product. The world won’t see it while it’s rough and experimental and confusing, because they’re not meant to. So, ipso freakin’ facto, shouldn’t a similar law exist to protect my pride from my friends and loved ones?
All I’m saying is, this was so much easier when no one knew I was finally writing. Letting everyone believe I was a writer’s blocked loser was just a simpler, less stressful time.
When the demand on your work increases, do you respond with fear or enthusiasm?
The September contest’s submission window came to a close last night, so be on the look out for the voting poll and next month’s first prompt!