It’s one of the reasons I like this photo. Imagine what the guy/gal went through who pushed this project through. You want to build a what? Why would you waste your time on something like that?
Anyone who tries to do anything will come up against resistance. I remember being depressed when I learned it’s a principle of physics that the universe is running down. No wonder it was so hard cleaning the house. And I thought it was just having kids.
And whenever someone tries to accomplish something in the realm of the arts, it seems like this idea gets fed caffeine and goes on the craziest exponential growth curve possible–and beyond. Into infinity. Musicians, visual artists, performing artists, and writers all have no lack of people who are waiting to discourage them.
And to complicate this, children are encouraged in their forays into the arts (or at least they should be). But adults need to get critique to improve. And that can be maddening, because so much of this is a matter of opinion.
I love books that others despise and vice versa. There are certain elements of craft that don’t depend as much on genre or preference, and I’ve tried to blog about them. But after a certain point, what makes a good story is very much a matter of taste.
And yet, if you discard all critique, you won’t grow. So you have to listen to it with an open mind, but don’t let it erase your voice. Retain that which makes your writing unique.
Sifting criticism has got to be one of the single most difficult things, at least for me. The combination of trying to be receptive and yet hold onto my core story and voice is an exhausting piece of mental gymnastics, and I’m never quite certain I’ve pulled it off.
So how do you know when your book is ready to be sent out into the big, bad world? I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no sage anywhere who will take me by the hand and mentor me, and even if they did, their answers might be wrong.
I spoke with a beta friend, and she asked me how I felt about my story. But my favorite story turned out to be the one that needed the most rewriting. I’m glad I did it because I like it better now, but I’m not sure I can trust my gut. But ultimately, that seems to be the route I’m going to have to go.
I can wait a while yet. That’s the one thing I’m hoping that’s missing from this equation. Time. Time to grow as a writer and decide my novels are as good as I can make them. With feedback and with everything I have to give them.
And not that I’m going to sit on my laurels or anything remotely like that. I work very hard at writing. I’ve got five novels that I’m cycling through, in various stages of revision. I killed over four thousand words today. (My early efforts were excessively detailed and wordy. But I believe in the underlying stories.)
No matter where your writing is now, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself in a similar place. Wondering if your story is worthwhile. Or if it is, if you did it justice. I’m hoping that giving it some time, so I can take a long look, will resolve my doubts.
But even if it doesn’t, I’m going to publish them anyway.
Keep writing and I will, too.