On Day 10 I sent the first chapter of my book to a few friends. Well yesterday I finally entered all the handwritten edits I had made and sent out the entire thing to the same friends.
Being the perfectionist that I am, I hovered over the send button. I believe in this book and actually really like it myself, would read it if someone else wrote it. So it’s not the story that I worry about. It’s that my grammar tends to suck. I’m constantly having to recheck my work to see if I used the correct your (or you’re). Between my sucky grammar and my even worse spelling, I prevented myself from being a writer for quite some time.
When I look back I realize that I wanted the boost in self-confidence. I was looking for someone to praise rather than constructively help. This does not fair well in English class when they want you to learn when to use “you and I” vs. “me and you” and pound into your head to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition (I still don’t know what that is exactly). I was so afraid of the scrutiny and feeling dumb that I even prevented myself from taking Honors English in high school, claiming I didn’t want to do the extra work. Secretly I was searching for any way I could to avoid critics.
And I wonder why I became an actor. Hooray for praise.
In addition to teaching me how to pause for laughter, being an actor also taught me the difference between judgmental criticism and constructive criticism. And I reminded myself of this yesterday as I clicked send. I know the people I’ve chosen will be honest with me, will point out the things they loved and the things they can do without. I can’t move forward in this process without some outside input and I feel like I’m continually learning to accept it.
In an effort to keep the hope alive over the past few months, I’ve taken to calling up all the bad books I’ve read that have still gotten published. I’ve also had to remind myself how that’s just my stinky opinion. For every person out there that hates a book, another person loves it. And if all these books that I shake my head out (**cough, Twilight, cough) can be so successful (cough, New Moon, cough) then I why can’t mine? There are people out there who love the books I cringe at (cough, Eclipse, cough) and who pine over the characters (cough, Breaking Dawn, cough).
The same can be true for me.
**Disclaimer: I have actually read the entire Twilight series and even paid money to see one of the movies in the theater. Don’t judge. I like to think it’s because I wanted to see what all the hype was about but I secretly just wanted to see if Bella would choose Team Jacob or Team Edward. The above is a show of my bitterness that I didn’t have the idea first and don’t have a deep room full of cash that I can jump into a la Duck Tales style. Oh, and Team Edward in case you were wondering. The whole Jacob being 16 in the movies thing is kind of creepy.