… wonder if I’m really cut out to be a writer.
Or to write.
It’s not that I don’t have some measure of talent at it. Some people tell me that I’m great! (Thanks, Mom!!) But writing is a somewhat solitary thing to do. Unfortunately I need feedback and I need it on a steady drip.
I’ve been getting a little more of that from the group I call BFoWWR on FB. I’m also looking for it locally, but sometimes asking the right way can be something like a minefield. I don’t like to come right out and ask people to read my stuff. I’ve done that. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. I also have a terribly uncomfortable relationship with personal debt – you know the debt I’m talking about. You ask a friend for help with moving a couch from one room to another and suddenly you’re watering their plants for three weeks at their house which is now thirty miles from yours. Twice a day, please, because it’s really hot. I know someone who calls this inability to draw a line “being a people pleaser.”
Within this FB group we’re beta reading each other’s work, which is great. Since we’re all in the group, we all have similar tastes in reading material. I don’t have to put a disclaimer on it – which is really nice. I finally scrounged up the courage to ask someone in the group to look at my short. And she did it gladly – with great feedback. I revised it (scratch that, I rewrote it) – then she read it again. This time with a glowing review and just a couple of specific notes. I’ve read a couple of things for her, too, so I feel good about the ‘personal debt’.
When someone asks for betas I almost always raise my hand. As long as I’m not working twenty hour days, I’ll do it. Reading is one of those things that’s easy for me. It’s something at which I’ve always been quite fast. It doesn’t cost me anything but a little time and I usually end up learning something – whether it’s a new word, or just a chance to see a different technique.
I’m relatively new to novel writing and writing words on a page does nothing to train me. People need to see those words and they need to give feedback for me to learn what I’m doing wrong – as well as what I’m doing right. Writing for yourself is great and all, especially if that’s how one processes life, but my end goal is not to die under a hoard of journals that no one ever saw.
I want to share my stories, preferably not only for free, but if that’s all it ever comes to be, I guess that’s okay.