Sharing your writing can be unnerving, especially when it’s not finished.
I recently announced on facebook and twitter that I finally reached the 50,000 word mark of my third novel. That’s pretty exciting in my humble opinion. It means that hopefully by the end of the month, or soon there after, I’ll have three novels written. That’s an amazing start to my journey.
And like what happens every time I announce a writing milestone, people come out of the woodwork asking when they get to read it and asking if I need an editor because their so and so and best friend’s cousin’s step uncle is an editor.
I absolutely LOVE that my friends and family are so supportive and encouraging of my writing ambitions. It’s another one of those reminders that life is wonderful and that the majority of people are still kind and supportive no matter how the world seems to be going.
What makes me feel bad though is when I have to tell these wonderful people, “not yet,” or “soon,” or something along those lines. The thing is, I make these little announcements because I’m so excited for the progress I’m making, but I’m not ready for people (other then my first reader) to read them yet.
Think of an artist who’s learning how to paint. How much do they need to practice before they actually get good? Do they show everyone their first sketches and attempts at art? I bet they don’t.
I know I’m a perfectionist. I’m working on it. I’m working on letting go of my writing by submitting short stories to various magazines. But my bigger works? I don’t want anyone seeing them until they’ve gone to an editor of some sort. The only novel I have that’s near ready for an editor is my first novel that’s gone through at least five drafts already.
Maybe perfectionist isn’t the right word. Meticulous? Cautious? My desire is to share the best possible version of my work to people. Unfortunately, that means that it may be a long time before people get to read my books, and some of them may never be read at all.
I’m ok with this because I know I’m still growing and learning as a writer. It’s really just been a year and a half since I learned the fine art of outlining, or even that most books have a basic structure (ex. The Three Act structure). Even though I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid, it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve taken this seriously.
So what, then, is a good response to all those well intentioned friends and family?
Do I have to reign in my excitement? Should I save the announcements for that someday future event when I actually publish something? Do I respond with, “when it’s published.”
I would really like to know what you think. Have you been in similar situations? How have you handled it?