Wednesday, October 5, 2011
It's Not Ready...
The more I write, the less insecure I get about the quality of my writing. The more I join communities of writers - this group in particular but also communities of people like me that are on the same path that I meet with in person - the less insecure I feel about calling myself a writer and knowing that I will reach the finish line multiple times if I do the work.
Despite this new-found confidence, I have a problem with sharing my work unless I've polished and edited it until it's as good as I can make it. Only then will I share it with people outside my immediate family.
I've been very lucky to have connected with one writer in particular, a woman at the same place as me who is working on her first novel and is close to completion. Over the last year, we have given each other feedback, one chapter at a time. My best feedback for her has involved fact-checking details in her writing related to children in particular. She has given me invaluable feedback on techniques I can use throughout my writing.
I met her last night and, although I completed the first version of my novel, I was only comfortable giving her a copy of the first third of it, the part of it I've edited at least twenty times.
I don't know if it's my insecurity that kept me from giving her the whole thing or just my work ethic (also based on insecurity I'm sure). When I did software development, I would never ever not for a second even consider letting an end user see or test an application I was working on for them until it was in the final stage, until it was done and I had already tested it. I was fine with getting feedback from end users about things I missed - but basic functionality should be there - all the buttons should work, errors shouldn't be thrown, it should work as expected.
Same with my writing - I don't want to hand my work over to someone else to fix what I should have fixed, things I know to do. I want feedback on the things I didn't notice, things I didn't think about.
Mostly, I don't want to feel like I'm a crappy writer because I asked for a critique before it was good enough.