Leaving your job is scary. It's even scarier when you tell people you're going to work on your book. Either they give you a hearty, "Well, that's good!" or "Good for you!" But most of the time, you get a bewildered, "Well, that's nice. I guess."
My good friends and close colleagues know that I'm a writer working toward publication. And are supportive of me.
This week I showed a newer co-worker and fellow writer--let's call her Felicity-- the letter that I received from the agent that I am diligently reworking Bix to resubmit to.
Felicity was impressed not only by the letter, but by the fact that I put myself and my writing out there.
She said, "Jove," Mutual friend and published author Jove Belle. "Jove has tried to get me to show her some of my stuff. But I don't think I'm ready for that."
Which is a totally alien concept to me. From the time I discovered I had a way with the written word, I have always wanted people to read it--sometimes forcing it upon my mom or sisters. And then I discovered the wonder that is critique groups and beta readers. Be still my writing heart.
In the original movie FAME, Professor Shorofsky, mentor to Bruno Martelli, tells him, "If you do it by yourself, it's not Music, Mr. Martelli. It's Masturbation!!!"
Crude, yes. But accurate as well.
I was searching for the Shorofsky quote, I came upon another blog that
had used it and said, "Art is about communication and you can't
communicate with yourself."
The thing about not sharing your work is that you aren't going to get any better if you never let anyone else read it. That third, fourth, and fifth eye is crucial to your development as a writer.
The first time I took a creative writing class in college, I wrote a short story about a depressed girl on a train that's headed for a collision with another train. The conductor stops the train and tells the people to brace for impact in like 30 minutes.
The story was read by everyone in the class and someone asked me, "Why don't the people just get off the train?"
Well, because I didn't think of it. I had one story in my head and it wasn't that one. But once I got the people off the train, I gave my depressed girl a purpose and something to do besides wallow in her depression. And the story--still in adequate--was much better for the move.
So, get out there. Show your stuff. It doesn't matter if it's crap. We all start out writing crap. But we learn and go onto create something a little less crappy each time.