Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Way We Are: Afraid to show

Everyone has someone they are afraid to show their manuscript to. (Right? Or are there fearless people out there? If you're one, make yourself known!)

It might be an agent (or agents in general), your high school English teacher, your best friend, you spouse, your critique group (or a specific CP), your parents, readers you don't know. Even if you usually have no problem with people reading your work, there's usually someone you dread showing. If you hate showing your work to EVERYONE, there's still someone that's harder, right?

Who is the person you've been most afraid to show your ms to?

For me, it was my hubby. It seems strange now, especially since he reads each chapter before even my writing group reads it. But I wrote for a while--- a couple of years and several books--- before I let him read anything. Why? I was nervous to let him read because he believed in me. YEARS before I even got the first inkling to write a book, he believed I could. From day one, he supported my decision to be a writer. He made sure I had writing time. He'd take off work to be with the kiddos while I went to conferences and classes. He encouraged me to write. I guess I was so nervous to show him, because I was afraid I'd show him that his support and belief in me was misplaced.

Lame, I know. And now I'm really glad I got over it, because I love showing him what I write, and I love his feedback.

So how about you? Who was/is your hardest person to show your writing to? Have you shown them yet?

35 comments:

Richard said...

I used to be afraid to show my work to anyone. Now I'm not afraid to show it to anyone. I read somewhere that you should never send your work out for publication until it's read by someone who hates your guts. I think that's pretty good advice.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I can happily show my work to anyone - seriously - but what I hate is being in the same room while they're reading. I get very twitchy and have to go and put the kettle on.

JeffO said...

It's definitely been my wife. Knowing how hard it is to get published, I could always rationalize rejection from agents/editors/magazines in a number of ways: wrong fit, bad query, etc., etc. I think I was afraid my wife would read my book and lose all respect for me, or think (because she wouldn't say it out loud) "My God, this is the biggest pile of trash I've ever seen."

I'm getting better, though, thank goodness.

Kelley said...

Hmmm...I guess I'm one of those people who isn't afraid to show my work to anyone. Is that bad?

I guess no one in the world that I knew before I was a writer, ever thought I'd become one, so I have nothing to prove. My high school AP English teacher (and Varsity soccer coach) would probably be like, "Kelley? My forward on the soccer team wrote a book? Cool!" Haha.

I guess I'll have to keep thinking...maybe those that will write reviews that might attack me as a person. I've seen those on goodreads. So mean!

Cristina said...

My husband for sure. I'm afraid he'll read my stuff and think.. damn, she sucks!!! LOL

and the funny thing is is that he is always so supportive, and when he does read my stuff he always gives me great feedback.

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

My brother--because he's as literal minded as I am.

If I have ANY plot hole or logical inconsistency I know he's going to sniff it out. And it's those types of mistakes that bug me the most in my own work so of course it feels ten times worse every time he does find one.

Delia said...

My friends. Not my writer friends, mind you, my everyday friends. In fact, most of them don't know I write. I can deal with strangers, agents, my writer's group, even my mom, but my friends? Nope. I don't know why. It's probably some weird "they're all going to laugh at you" phobia. (I don't have to worry about my husband. He's never voluntarily read anything I've written except my blog.)

Leigh Ann said...

Oh. OH oh oh. My husband. Is never, ever, EVER allowed to read my stuff. Ever.

I showed him the first page of MS#2 (I won't even tell him what MS#1 is ABOUT) and I sat in the corner and wept inside for the minute it took him to read it.

I think it's this: My husband has always thought I was pretty smart, right? Like, intellectual-equal, advanced-degrees smart. So, I'm gonna let him read my books about teenaged superheroes kissing? What will he think of me THEN??

Nuh uh. NO WAY.
*shivers*

Brenda Sills said...

Hi Peggy! I loved meeting you in person at LTUE! You're so wonderful!

I have a husband like yours—we're so blessed aren't we? He's so supportive & believes in me too. And my kids are that way also.

I won't let my siblings and friends (except writer friends, who are in the same boat!) read my books until they're published! I don't want them reading my stories until they're at their very best. I was always the same way with art projects—adamant that no one saw them until they were completely finished!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I'm not afraid to show my work to anyone as long as (1) I've reached the point where I'm happy with the manuscript (2) the person sincerely wants to read the manuscript and (3) I have a sense of trust and comfort with that person.

Cherie Reich said...

The hardest person to show my work to is my mom. She minored in English, and she's rather hard to please when it comes to writing, so for her to like it says something. I think the best compliment I got from her was "You wrote this?" As if I got it from someone else.

prerna pickett said...

my husband was also the hardest person to share my MS with. But he's very supportive and helpful. Turns out I was afraid for no reason.

Rena said...

My Grandmother. I know everyone is like, but your grandmother is so sweet, and she'll just say something nice anyway. No. That's not how it works in my family. If you write something that's sloppy and poorly written, my family will let you know. I was biting nails when I sent one of my manuscripts off to my grandma. Yikes.

Clarissa Draper said...

I don't like showing my manuscript to my friends and family. They all try to pick it apart and compare it to my real life. They always imagine some character is them or some situation mirrors their life in some way, that makes me crazy. But, to people who don't know me, I'm less guarded.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Richard-- Ooo! Read by someone who hates my guts. Great advice! (Assuming you can convince someone who hates your guts to read it...;))

Annalisa- Hahaha! Yes, there's always THAT. I know just what you mean.

JeffO-- I so know what you mean. Definitely easier to rationalize why people don't like it when you don't know and love them.

Kelley-- Good on you! And you should totally look up your AP English teacher / Varsity Soccer Coach and tell him. :D

Cristina-- Hahaha! Why, I have no idea at all what you mean. ;)

K-- I love it! And I totally understand why he would be your hardest. I always feel the WORST when someone points out something I didn't do well, when it's the kind of thing that bugs me the most when I don't do well.

Delia-- I can totally understand why non-writing friends would be hard to show your writing to! Luckily, the first thing I ever wrote was for friends, so I got over it fairly early. I can see why it'd be hard, though, had I waited.

Leigh Ann-- I read your comment THREE TIMES, and laughed out loud every time! You kill me. I mean, I totally understand! But seriously girl, you kill me. Later today, when I'm needing another laugh, I'll be back.

Brenda-- I loved meeting you, too! It was so much fun! Supportive husbands are the best. And I know what you mean about wanting them to read it when it's at its best! I let friends / family read my Rev8. It's up to Rev12 now, and about to go through my edits with my editor. Every time someone that read it mentions it, I just want to say, I wish I could just erase what you read in your head, and replace it with what's there now!

Cynthia-- Good points! I think I'm the same way.

Cherie-- Haha! I love it! You should frame that compliment and put it on your wall. Compliments from hard-to-please people are the ones that mean the most.

Prerna-- I was, too. Thank heavens we got over it, no?

Rena-- Everyone needs someone in their family who will say nice things, and someone who will tell it like it is. It's the ones who will let you know that are the most valuable! And, of course, the hardest to show things to. :)

Clarissa-- I hate when they compare it to your life and think you wrote yourself into your characters! Or wrote THEM into your characters. If they only knew how untrue that actually is. That's actually one of my biggest issues, too.

Leigh Covington said...

I still don't show my MS to my hubby. In fact, I won't really show it to anyone in my family except my niece. Weird? Yes. Mostly I won't let my hubby read it because, 1... he's not a big reader and 2... he's not big on fantasy. He really only reads Louis Lamour westerns. So my books won't be his cup of tea! lol. *sigh* o-well.

Bea Sempere (Denise Baer) said...

Aw, you DO have a supportive husband. A treasure.

Patti said...

Probably my husband, because he's the most honest with me, which I really have to be in the right mood for.

Eve said...

I really like this post. It can be scary. I know when I first started writing I didn't let anyone read now I have some who help give me feedback and such. Still the idea of letting others read, like my family. No thank you. They'll have to wait until I'm published and go buy it. I guess with me it's not that I don't want to let them down but more like none of them really take my passion seriously and thus I don't want them to see it.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Probably my hubby. He hates to read so I don't want him to hate my book! LOL :)

Kim said...

I'm afraid to show...everyone...but mostly my mother. There's something about that parental "look" that doesn't need words that sends me back to feeling like a kid who got caught doing something wrong, whether that's her intention or not.

Jay Noel said...

I put my 2nd draft in front of a publisher, because I had the chance to pitch it. I was so afraid, because it was not a polished draft. But good things came out of that meeting, including a publishing contract.

So it pays to leave that comfort zone.

Krista M said...

My parents. *shivers* I have yet to show any of my novels to my parents, especially my mom. I'm comfortable sharing with my friends and siblings, but my parents don't really approve of my writing dream and that makes it hard to show them what I've written, even though I'm proud of it.

Kelly Polark said...

I think the hardest people to show my writing to would be my favorite authors (though, what are the chances they would read it?). Though I was just in a picture book contest and one of my favorite poets posted on my fb wall that he liked my story. I was thrilled.

I'm usually pretty okay with anyone else seeing it!

J. A. Bennett said...

It's my husband too, and I still can't do it :)

Iain said...

Back when I was unaware of the crafting process involved in writing a masterpiece, I was happy to show everyone my work. I knew it was great, and therefore everyone else should think so. If they didn’t, then it wasn’t to their taste. There couldn’t be any other reason.

Since I’ve learnt about the processes involved in polishing my work, I’m afraid to show anyone. It always needs that little bit more, and I don’t want them to be disappointed when they come across a weak area. Most of all, I’m petrified of my CP’s. They actually know what they are looking for, and are probably expecting something better than I can produce.

Stacy Henrie said...

I think it depends on the project and the timing. Sometimes it's my husband, sometimes it's my crit group. But I have to remember I learn something from all of them.

Elana Johnson said...

Interesting. I'd rather die than have my husband read my work and offer feedback. He gets to read my stuff when it's in the ARC stage, because then I can't change it. Ha!

I think I got over being afraid to show my work to people when my book came out. Sort of had to...

Beth said...

I'm always afraid to show my work agents, editors and even published writers.

Joshua said...

Any and all of the above. I sent out one thing one time to an editor I met at DragonCon...never heard back because shed left Penguin a few months after we met. So I don't even know if she got it. Since then...not happy with that one and need to rework it. Haven't completed anything else to the point of sending it out.

Janet Johnson said...

I'm always most nervous to show my work to friends who don't write. In fact, I've only done that once. Don't know why I'm scared of that. Maybe because I don't think they'll get it? Get how hard it is to write. Get how much time and effort I've put into it. Anyway. :)

Imogen said...

I try not to show my stuff to my Mum. I think it's fear that I haven't done a good enough job and I know she'll notice. I'm not half so scared of showing other people.

E.D. said...

I agree one-hundred percent! I just can't bring myself to showing it to my husband - and I have no idea why!
Thanks for the great post. You always find what is on our minds :-)

LindaK said...

I used not to like showing my work to anyone - it was too much like opening my soul or giving them an organ of mine to study. Now, I'm much less touchy about it, but I still prefer to let editors read my work first and only show it to family and friends when and if or after it's been accepted! If it was a novel I was writing I think I'd choose one or two trusted friends or acquaintances to read it for me. Family aren't objective enough!

Z said...

My husband (for the same reasons you mentioned--gulp, guess I need to get over that) and my dad (also for the same reasons--he's so wonderfully supportive I don't want him to read my stuff and discover it's junk :( )