The Terror of Trusting Someone


Capslock is good way to express anxiety.

I’ve been talking to her on and off again about my book, mentioning that I’m working on it, I finished the first draft, I’m mired in revisions, and then that I was nearing the end of the major revisions.

And she asked, “Can I read it?” And I said yes, because you don’t turn down the person who reads books ALL THE TIME and is a really good judge of good stories. And now I’m actually done-ish with revisions, and I’M FREAKIN OUT, GUYS.

I mean, 4 family members read the book so far with varying levels of feedback. My roommate has been in the process of reading it for months (got stuck on chapter 33 for the longest time, but then rocketed up to the 60s in one day).

I work as a technical writer, so I have a certain level of know-how. And while most of the commas are probably in their places in The Nameless Queen, but I know some of my weaknesses for early drafts.

  • Wordiness
  • Over-explanation
  • Unnecessary stage direction and dialogue tags

But I also wonder those bigger and less-fixable things:

  • Is it boring?
  • Unoriginal?
  • Unlikeable plot or characters?
  • See the punchline a mile away?
  • Or get a full-blown KO from the unexpected, unwanted twist?

Here’s the reality of what I’m afraid of:

It’s an unnamed fear somewhere between my coworker thinking I’m a bad writer and thinking “eh, it’s good, but not great.”

I know it’s aiming high, but I want great. I know, on occasion, I can write good. I know it. 4 books later, I know the basics, at least. I want that nameless extra length that reaches past good and into great.

What I need to do is take a deep breath and spit out the words of Ifinishedmybookifyouwanttoreaditbuti’mstillrevisingsohavethirtygrainsofsaltok?

Then I’ll hand it over and do my very best to relax at least a little. And then, after not relaxing, I’ll start working on a query letter. Maybe (maybe) I’ll lay off the coffee while this anxiety rests in me like a jittery beast. After all, a writer is only one person. Letting others read our work is an essential step in someday being published to the point where we hope lots of people will read our work. Yes, an early draft is scary and sometimes ugly, but it takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to publish a book. You’ve got to let others into the early screaming-baby, furious-toddler, angsty-adolescent age.

Even though it’s aiming high, and even though it’s slightly terrifying, everyone should try to be great. It takes a certain amount of hard work and yet a certain level of passivity to dawdle at good.

Keep thinking, keep dreaming, keep re-imagining and re-experiencing…

In short?

Go for great.

5 thoughts on “The Terror of Trusting Someone

  1. Pingback: It Takes a Village | words — and other things
  2. Awesome post 🙂 I have a lot of trouble showing people my work because it’s not to the point that I want it to be yet. I always want it to be great and I’m terrified that it’ll be ‘okay’ or, even worse, ‘bad’.

    • The important part (and the most difficult part) is that letting other people read it and give you feedback is one of the best ways to learn and improve. It’s just absolutely scary.

      • It is lol I’ve gotten better about showing some family members (mainly my dad) my favorite stories, but I’m still way too shy about my writing ^_^;

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