I've been pretty absent lately. It's been a rough week and I try not to blog when I'm internally freaking out, just so you all won't know how the extent of my strangeness. Don't worry. I'm contained now. I think.
I have ABOVE THE WAVES out to three people right now, my critique partner and two very literary friends. This is about the most nerve-wracking thing in the world. At least when you send out a query it's a pass/fail. And you can always tell yourself with the fail that it's the query letter and not your writing. When people are actually reading your work, it's always the writing, and I've gotten some feedback about it already.
Feedback is the worst. You always hope, in any kind of a review-type situation, that it's going to be all positive. Like, "This is the best story I've ever read! I love your style, the inclusion of symbolism, the characters." Or even, "There were a few places where the tenses didn't match up, and you used the word 'comfortable' a lot, but otherwise this is a winner!" You hope for that. And when the feedback is more like, "I see a lot of character and not a lot of plot," you think Oh hell. How am I going to fix that one? and Maybe I have no business writing.
And that's exactly where I go. I, like my MC Amanda and why I wrote her to begin with, feel the freak out coming and either can't or don't know how to do anything to keep it from washing over me. I become insular, stop talking to people, stop existing in real time, and spend a lot of time working out or walking. It's not exactly giving up, but it's... no, it's exactly like giving up.
The thing is, my intention with writing the book I did was to show that freaking out happens, depression happens, but when you just try to get through it, when you fail to learn the why behind it, you limit yourself. You become a cycle of a person. You fail to grow and you stunt yourself from healing.
I am not good with feedback. At first. It takes me longer than I allow myself to digest it and understand it, and I'll admit that, in the past, I've taken feedback to mean that I'm worthless and then quit what I was working on. Not always, but enough times that it's kind of a pattern for me. But I'm not allowing that this time.
In an attempt to thwart the usual pattern, I forced myself out Friday night. I went to a show (Hot Hot Heat, if you're interested), forced myself to talk to the other people around me at the bar, and met a new friend from Twitter of all places. I will not say that I wasn't totally awkward, because every single part of me wanted to be shut up in a small room, and I know I bit the hell out of my nails, but I did it. I changed my routine. I gave myself a distraction.
It was exactly what I needed. I am sitting here at my computer writing after several days of dejectedly gazing at the keyboard. I know that there's a huge need for action in the first half of ATW. I also know that doesn't mean I suck, it just means I need to write some. And I'm not really sure how that's going to work, or what I even want to do with it, but I'm not going to give in just yet. I want to be that person who learns and grows.
And I hope I didn't just freak out my CP for writing this. Really, your honesty means a lot to me, even if it takes me a while to be comfortable with it. Thanks for telling me the truth.
Listening to: my JUST A LITTLE RAIN playlist