Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Head in the Sand

Oh dear Insecure Writers Group... I've neglected you the past few months, haven't I? 


Alright, go ahead. Slap my wrist.

Consider me reprimanded. Now onward with my insecurities!

This month I foolishly allowed a few friends OUTSIDE my writing group to read a draft of my writing. 

I know, I know what you're thinking. And your'e right. This--by itself--isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, beta readers are good. They give a different perspective that our writing-engourged critique partners often can't see. A "normal person's perspective," if you will. 

HOWEVER... I'm absolutely KICKING myself right now, because after I sent off this lovely draft to my lovely non-writing friends, I changed a WHOLE bunch of stuff that made the plot line--like--five thousand times better. (This, on the recommendation of a few agent reject letters I got. So you know, I guess they DO know what they're talking about every now and again...Haha!)

Anyway, my point is, is that I'm absolutely cringing right now, thinking about that "old" draft my friends read. That crapy, inconsistent, unfinished draft that has absolutely NO right seeing the light of day. What will they think of me??

Last week, one of the friends that I gave said crappy draft to actually sent back me back some comments. Aaaaand, I have to admit, I haven't even opened the email yet. 


If I never have to see it, then I never have to know how bad she thought it was, right? Ugh.

I'm a coward. I know. 

Has anyone else ever had this happen before? Sending out a draft to beta readers, then feeling absolutely miserable after hitting the send button, because you realize how dreadful that draft was? I feel like its easier with agents... they EXPECT crappy drafts sometimes, right? But with friends?? You only really get one shot to impress them... 

Your thoughts?


Jeremy Bates said...

I agree, you are right!

Emily R. King said...

This is so true. I look back and think, "Golly, I actually thought you should read that? What WAS I thinking?"
Wanna know how I cheer myself up? I imagine sending those friends a brand new copy of my published book. When they read it, they'll see how far I've come. Not many people who read your book will be able to see that, and that's encouraging.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I've read both drafts, and NONE of them were crappy. Pull your head out of the sand Jules. Your MS is awesome, with or without the changes!

Annalisa Crawford said...

From your perception you could make it better, but if it's already very good then your betas will enjoy it - then you can stun them with the revised version later. Win-win!

Barbara Kloss said...


Oh, my gosh, I SO now how you feel. I had three different beta groups with Gaia, and I STILL have nightmares about those first couple of drafts. It's like you wanna risk imprisonment to break into their houses steal it back, and cast Obliviate on them while they're sleeping. *hangs head in shame*

BUT!! You must remember - these are your FRIENDS and will probably give you the most polite feedback you'd ever get. They want to see you succeed. (uh, hopefully, lol) It's good practice, too, because once you throw that book out to the world, you've gotta deal with ALL the feeedback - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Beta groups are where, I feel, our skin begin morphing into steel plates.

And even though you have all these revisions ready (you will ALWAYS have things you want to change!), look at it this way: the feedback they're giving you may or may not confirm the new direction you've chosen for you plot. OR maybe they'll have some ideas that hadn't crossed your mind yet!

EVERY bit of advice you get along the way helps in one shape or form. HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH. You've written a book, for crying out loud! Not many people do that, and not many still take it serious enough to risk their identities by sharing it with others! I think we forget that because we are in a little blogging bubble with other writers.

So, I GUESS what I'm trying to say is, I GET IT. But try your hardest to pull that head out of the sand and stay out of it! You're amazing and talented and I know all your friends - including me!! - are so proud of you!

Barbara Kloss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M.S Tucker said...

Could also be that you didn't open up the e-mail because you knew it would make more work for you in the end? LOL And you just don't want to think about changing another thing?

Been there. Done that.

I would get too many opinions. It'll only confuse you more I think.

Also, if you DON'T open the e-mail you might never get the praises that this person wants to give you. BUT(!!!) if they sent you nothing but naughty things, I'll volunteer to beat them up for you.

P.S Barb is so awesome it took me halfway through reading the double post before I realized what just happened. It was awesome the second time just so that you know. LOL


Barbara Kloss said...

Whoops!! Lol

But thanks, Mandi :)

M.S Tucker said...

Hey! I thought April Fools came early and I fell for it!

P.S I ALWAYS fall for it! LOL

Julie said...

Emily: oh gosh, that sounds like a beautiful dream! I'm going to use that to help me fall asleep tonight! Haha ( :

Lauren: awhhh! What would I do without you, girl?! Best BWFF ever. Though, you have to admit... Recent drafts HAVE been leaps and bounds better. It's hard not to despair comparing them with old ones!!

Annalisa: SO true! I just have to remember that when I'm in the "depths of despair" next time!! (Anne of Green Gables, anyone?!)

Barb: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *tear* Oh my heart, you make me laugh!! Obliviate... IF ONLY! Rob asked me the other day which fantasy world I'd want to live in if I could choose.... And I, of course, said Harry Potter. Cause seriously?! Magic wants and levitation? We wouldn't even have to break into our friends' houses with those bad skillzzz!

And THANK YOU for the vote of confidence and praise... It means the world! Especially having it come from peeps like you who can TOTALLY empathize with the whole bang-your-head-against-the-wall-writing process. You're the best!

Mandi: and YOU'RE the best too! I think I might have the best blogging buddies EVER!! Just sayin...

And... Okay... Maybe I AM a little afraid of the extra work.

But not as afraid of being thought a failure. *blushes* What? Im insecure about my writing obsession around my non writer friends. I cant help it!!

And seriously? April Fools was like the biggest holiday of the year in my house growing up. I LOVE IT!!

I might be a bit of a prankster... Heehee... [Rubs hands together with an evil, maniacle expression]

Samantha said...

Hi! I'm stopping by from Leigh Covington's blog.

I haven't sent anything to Beta readers yet. My friends are all curious and anxious to see what I have written, but it all makes me so nervous!

Great post :)

Julie said...

Samantha: GREAT! I love visitors... so good to see you! And yes, I understand, betas ARE frightening ( : Haha! Good luck with your writing!

Anonymous said...

That's a tough feeling, yeah. I've had something similar with novel swaps - I send the manuscript out to reader B, and then a few days later reader A, who's had it for three weeks, finally comes back with lots of great suggestions!

In this situation, I think that you can look for a bright side, though - see how much of what you changed the readers agreed with. Maybe they actually pointed out something as good that you thought was bad, so you can bring it back!

And thanks for coming back to IWSG.

M Pax said...

Yes. I used to do that when I first started writing. Now non-writers rarely see anything but the published project. Sometimes my husband sees a pieces of a piece sooner--if I need man feedback and direction.

Even now my crit partners only see my work as a polished second draft. This is because like you, I change things a lot and often.

Heather said...

Oh yes. I still cringe when I think about the first time I sent a novel to a friend to read. It wasn't my first novel, but it was still dreadful.

Julie said...

Kel: Your'e right. Definitely good advice... I love it when critiquing buddies have the SAME thing to say! Its like a big, red WARNING sign telling me... "Duh, Jules, this needs to be fixed!"

Pax: I think I might start doing that... besides a few select beta readers, who really needs to see the crappy drafts?!

Heather: Dreadful. What a wonderfully delightful word to describe MY last draft! Haha ( : Its a good thing we're always improving, eh?