I have to admit to being a bit nervous about posting again. Which is silly, really. But last week’s battering has really knocked my confidence, and the events of the intervening days have been a rough ride.
But just when you think you can’t cope anymore, the Universe hands you a rose. This time in the shape of Pola’s loving and kind comment on my last post:
“The reason I’m writing is to let you know that I really appreciate your talent in writing. I appreciate your devotion to your craft and your desire to help others in developing their own style and creativity. So whatever you decide, I just wanted you to know that I think you’re an important voice in the world of writing and that I hope you never give up in your endeavor to have your voice heard. This world would be less without it.”
Thank you so much, dear, dear Pola. I cannot tell you how much this meant to me.
With your words ringing in my ears, I got back on the horse last night, and wrote a new story, 2207 words of trying something new with ‘Lewis’. It was somehow important to start again with ‘Lewis’ given that it was a ‘Lewis’ story that caused all the trouble in the first place. I don’t know where the story came from, it just popped into my head. I don’t know if I’m ready to publish anything yet either, but it feels so good to be back in the saddle.
I was made to write. I don’t know how not to.
Somehow, I’m going to have to learn to deal with criticism better, from the sort that is justified to the sort that is completely out of order. Its very hard to do that when you are already in a tough place.
I realised that I posted the story because I wanted a confidence boost. I wanted some good reviews to cheer me up. And when I didn’t get them, got the reverse in fact, it knocked me over completely.
Important Lesson #1: Do not post your fanfics just to get applause.
I posted ‘Not So Innocent’ on a whim. I don’t have a beta, so it hadn’t had a second reader look at it. There was no one to tell me that it had dodgey elements in it. I had doubts about it, I have to admit, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what they were. If I’d had backup, maybe I would have seen its faults.
Important Lesson #2: Get a beta reader.
Preferably someone who knows the fandoms I write in, has excellent capacity for spotting my hidden prejudices, and my inability to cope with apostrophes. I read last night’s creation to Husband (a stickler for apostrophes), which was a very useful exercise (reading your work aloud is always enlightening), but he doesn’t have the time to be a proper beta, and he’s got enough stress on his plate as it is.
I’ve always fought shy of having a beta because I don’t like the idea of the delay it involves. I’m probably too protective of my work anyway, so having an editor would be good practise in stepping back, and would probably help me handle criticism better. Plus I’ve had bad experiences with supposedly ‘helpful’ readers in the past. And I know what a lousy beta I am in terms of getting around to reading other people’s work I’ve offered to read.
If anyone is interested in being a beta for me, and can offer a fast turn-around time, dedication to grammar and a fine eye for possible offending material, please let me know.
Its hard not to feel over-sensitive at this point. I confess I am still very wobbly. Things in RL are on shaky ground. I’m trying to support Husband and his family members as best I can, while dealing with my own illness, and the onset of the most difficult time of the year for me in terms of mental health. Taking it slow and looking after myself, so that I can look after him, is the best I can do.
Important Lesson #3: Look after yourself.
And of course:
Important Lesson #4: DON’T GIVE UP.
So thank you for your continued support. One way or another, we’ll all get there.