No one likes to be vulnerable. Everyone looks to be accepted. Criticism hurts for the moment. It’s what you do with the criticism that matters.
When I decided writing was something I really wanted to do, I went for it without a second thought. Goal setting is something that works for me. I set out to conquer every goal I set for myself. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose.
At first, I was excited about my new venture and for the countless possibilities. A dreamer and achiever that is me. But I was not prepared for the sleepless nights as my plotting and characters kept me awake at night. How could I improve my story? How would I share with the world what was in my heart? Would they like it as much as I did? Or was I like the contestants of talent shows that think they are good but really aren’t. No! I can’t humiliate myself like that. But what if I am good enough and let the opportunity slip by? I owed it to myself to try. I refused to say 10 years from now I wish I had.
But what if they didn’t like me? What if my stories weren’t good enough? What if I fail? Panic set in. Was I ready to be in the public eye? I’ve always been the kind of girl who wants to slip in and slip out without being noticed. Being the center of attention is not me.
Then came the knowledge in order to be a successful author it was suggested that I have multiple social media accounts. WHAT? I rarely post on my personal social media but now I have to post regularly on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This meant letting the world inside my personal life. (you would think I had something to hide) It also meant that I would share my personal thoughts in the form of blogging and in the pages of my novels. To put out raw unedited material for the public to read without my editor. No way!
So if that wasn’t all scary enough I decided to write about bullying and suicide and the epidemic taking over the youth of our world. Not only can it be a sensitive topic but it hit close to home for me as a mother of a child I have watched suffer for years.
Then it came time to send off my first manuscript to my editor for an evaluation. The anticipation while I waited for ten weeks for the feedback was almost unbearable. When I checked my email box and read the words, ‘here ya go. I’ve finished your evaluation of your manuscript’ my heart pounded in my ears. Pins and needles overtook every sense in my body. No… I didn’t want to read what she had to say. Fear controlled me. I started to read it and began to shake. Did I read the first few lines right? She liked it. Overwhelmed by the positive feedback within the first paragraph I handed it to my husband and told him to read the rest of the 12-page report. I was too scared to read it. (yes, sadly this is true) I worried if she had started out with so much praise it was bound to get worse.
With the kindness of a professional, she let me know what needed improvement. At first, the criticism gutted me because like most people it is something we need to learn how to deal with. As a person, I strive to do my very best at everything, and as a new writer, I had provided my best. I had nothing to be ashamed of. In my head, I knew her report was 90% good but the 10% of issues bothered me. Why hadn’t I thought of that? You should have researched more. It was like I expected myself to know everything my first time around which is utter foolishness. But after a few days of digesting it, I went to work on applying her suggestions. My novel is that much better because of it. Criticism offered in the proper way can only make you better. To this editor I say thank you, thank you, thank you.
To you, I say run toward your dreams. Don’t let fear control what direction you take in life.
Drop me a line and tell me what your goals and dreams are? Are you holding yourself back? If this scared girl did it, so can you.