Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sharing my Work In Progress

I’m a writer. I’m comfortable saying it, sharing it even. But the next part, when I’m asked the follow-up question, is tougher. What do you write?

My instinct is to keep it to myself, hold my story close to my heart, wrap it up in a blanket with me, hide it on a USB. Call it precious.

But I can’t do that. I know I shouldn’t. So my answer usually goes something like: “Well, I write YA fantasy and I'm currently working on a story about teenage girl who’s an assassin but doesn’t like being an assassin but is trapped into service by an evil Empress.” Which is about the time it starts sounding weird in my head so I stop and say I’m still writing/editing/working on it. And that’s where the conversation ends.

But something AMAZING happened this week that makes me think it’s time to share a few tidbits of my WIP. Of course that something amazing didn’t come without a little internal wrangling.

I won a 10 page critique from Kate Brauning at YA Stands. I was so excited when I found out (and still am) that I opened Scrivener, cut the first 10 pages to a Word document, re-read it for the 100th time and sent it off before it occurred to me that I was SENDING MY WORDS TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

This, turns out, is frightening.

That’s about when I started being pelted by my own thoughts. What if my story sucks? What if I’m crazy to think it’s a workable, decent draft? What if it doesn’t have potential? What if I’m a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad writer? What if what if WHAT IF?

I had to tell myself to STOP. Wait. Trust.

Stop thinking degrading thoughts. They’re no use to anyone. Wait to hear back. Whether the response comes sooner or later, I can’t freak out the entire time my words are elsewhere. I shouldn’t be freaking out at all. This is a great opportunity and a logical next step.

And I should trust in myself and in my words. Trust that my passion isn’t foolhardy. Trust that no matter what the critique says (good, bad, great, devastating), I will be able to read it, learn from it and use it to make my story better. And hopefully become a better writer in the process.

So, I’m going to do something new today. I’m adding a tab up top with some information about my WIP. It’s a long time coming. I mean, I have been working on this thing for almost four years. WHOA. It’s time to put a little bit of it out into the world.

And think happy thoughts.

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