Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Here at ATWOP, we have this ongoing joke about who's the biggest... *cough*crit whore*cough*. LOL. We all LOVE getting feedback, and the truth is we're all VERY needy. Our by-line should be WE NEED, WE NEED!!

Truth is, though, I haven't shared much of my writing in a very long time. Not even with the ladies of ATWOP or my much loved crit buddies. There are lots of reasons--not wanting to spoil key parts of my book, scenes that aren't quite finished/ready for viewing, etc etc. But lately, the number one reason is that I'm absolutely petrified by the idea.

Yes, this crit whore has stage fright.

Claire has been asking me to get involved at Compuserve for a while now--especially the Toolbox threads in exercises. She thinks some positive feedback will get me back into writer mode. It's worked for me in the past, so I certainly see the merit behind the idea. That said, whenever I think about posting something I sort of freeze up. Part of it is that I haven't written anything substantial in a very long time. Because of this, I'd most likely have to post something that already exists. I'm SO hesitant to do this. 1. Because it's highly likely I've already shared the snip at some point 2. Because I might give away some huge, important spoiler that really needs to be on the DL 3. I prefer to post something fresh, which in turn means, I Have To Write Something (eeee!) 4. Even if I could manage to spit out a few hundred new words, What If They Suck??? Could I really take negative feedback when my hold on writing is so tenuous right now??

Yeah, welcome to the neurotic world of Jen.

In the end, this fear I'm experiencing boils down to one thing -- I'm scared that the "magic" is gone. That maybe that's why I haven't written anything for so long. And if the "magic" is gone -- I'm going to FAIL.

No matter how I try to argue against all of this, my fear rises up and totally overpowers all rational arguments. Deep down, I feel that no matter what I do, I'm going to suck. Embarrass myself. Prove that I was a fraud all along. Yes, this spiral is a bit out of control.

The other night, Claire gave me a writing challenge: We'd each write for five minutes (she wanted 30, but we got into a bit of a time crunch), and then we'd both send each other the results. It scared the hell out of me, but a challenge is a challenge, and I wasn't about to chicken out. I went through with it -- literally opening up a fresh document and just typing the first thing that came to mind. Ummm... yeah, it sucked. It sucked bad. And I did not want Claire to read the crap. For her to see how truly terrible I am.

Sigh -- but I did send it. That's the important thing. It sucked, tho.

That said, it totally confirmed that I need to snap out of this funk. To push through this fear and get back to work. I mean, seriously -- I have HORRIBLE stage fright, and yet, I'm able to get my butt up in front of an audience every time I have a chance to sing karaoke. If I can stand up and be judged by a bar full of strangers, why can't I share my writing?

Even after writing all of this, I'm STILL scared.

But despite this, I have to do something drastic.

I've made a small goal for myself: post a snip in the Toolbox thread over at compu -- by Friday. And here's the big caveat: I will NOT post something new. It may be new to readers, but it's going to be something I've already written. Maybe if I can take some of the pressure off of myself, I can at least get past this initial fear....maybe.

Wow. Who would've thought this crit whore would be scared to share. Wonders never cease, I tell ya.

I'm counting on all of you to hold me to this goal, btw. I may need some gentle nudges. Just sayin'.


  1. Nudge, nudge...

    I love your stuff. I can't wait to see something of yours in the Toolbox.


  2. Thanks for sharing this, Jen. You know I love Maddy and your other stuff as well.

    And I've been out of the interwebs loop, or on very sporadically, because I feel like my job uses all of my creative and intellectual faculties...by the time I get to bed every night, my brain is wrung out.

    But I realize that's kind of a cop out for me too. I could make the time to write for 10 min a day; I know I could. But I haven't really written anything for my major WIPs in about a year---and I'm losing confidence in both my ability and my concepts. It's terrifying.

    Not sure what I'm going to do about it...but I hope to take inspiration from your example!

  3. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. I'm pretty good at nudging.

  4. Aw Jen, I'll feed your critwhore (hmm, is it a beast?): Please come to the next houseparty! Won't that be a great way of getting back into writing without any pressure? Come on, Maddy lost in Constantinople in 1492? Wandering in the Bazaar? Eating yummy food?

    I keep thinking my book sucks too - I try to avoid the feeling by saying to myself "my book is great; it's my writing that sucks. But bad writing can always be edited. I'll fix the crap later..."

    And so on.