I learned a lesson in the last week.
I sent out my first four chapters (I consider it part one in a four part novel) to beta readers. I know some of you read this. Hi.
After reading a few comments, I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. I should have expected it. One person who does not read my blog said he could get through page three. Apply ointment to burn.
You always forget this part. I’ve had people review my work before, and it really is always the same (but different), but you’re never ready for that time where it goes out to the masses and the response is “This sucks.”
I know that’s unfair. I know they didn’t just say “This sucks.” As a writer you hear that. For the first 24 hours, everything else is inconsequential. There’s just the ringing in your ears, and you’re wondering if you should even publish the damned thing.
It’s times like these I miss having the significant other. The blanket “I loved it. When this happened, I cried. When this happened, I wept. When this happened, we ended up in the bedroom.” I loved the last one, though it didn’t happen as often as one would hope and it didn’t get as far as I’m leading you to believe. We were at least attempting to keep to purity. With mixed results.
In a bout of insanity, and having no one else to turn to, I went to an ex from a long time ago. She verbally punched me in the face then gave me ice to sooth the wounds. This ex is the second most influential woman I’ve dated.
After pummeling me into the ground and telling me to stop being a pussy (she didn’t use those words, she at least pretends to be a lady), she sent me a YouTube video I had seen a long time ago. It’s a TedTalks and it resonated with me a little when I first saw it. It truly struck me this time when she showed me in my time of suck.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_waBFUg_oT8&feature=youtu.be (I was hoping it’d embed, but it’s not registering it as a valid YouTube link.)
This is my first novel. I want it to be good. I want people to love it. I want a million people to buy it and beg for me to finish the next one while HBO creates filler so they don’t catch up to where I’m at in writing it. The reality? I might sell a couple hundred copies. I may get a few fans. It’s very unlikely I’m going to tour the US for book signings and find a new librarian nymph to warm my bed in each town. I’m doing it because I love what I’ve imagined, and I think others will too. Because I feel that I have something to say in a literary manner, even though I generally have little to say face to face.
So gritting my teeth. Moving forward. Taking a deep breath and fixing what needs fixing so that at least those couple hundred who accidentally stumble upon it don’t put my name on the “I never want to read this crap again” list. I hope you’re pushing forward as well and doing incredible things.