For the first time in a long time, I let someone read my writing. And the rollercoaster ride of emotions was wild.
I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was a kid. When I was in high school I saw a picture in the newspaper that sparked an idea for a story. A few years ago I started writing that story in my first round of NaNoWriMo. Last year I finished the manuscript.
After letting the rough (I mean ROUGH) draft sit for a while and returning to it for a couple rounds of edits, it was time for me to send it off to a beta reader.
What’s a beta reader?
It’s a person you pay or politely ask to read your manuscript in order to give you notes. Things you might ask a beta reader to look for is continuity, plot progression, and pacing, just to name a few. The process is meant to get another pair of eyes on your work before sending it to an agent or editor who doesn’t really want to spend a whole lot of time refining your manuscript.
So I asked a couple people if they were willing to read my novel, they said yes (thank you!) and I emailed them a pdf copy of my manuscript…
Well, let me tell you the moment I hit send I felt anxious! “My work isn’t ready for other eyes! They’re going to think my writing is terrible!”
I wished that I could undo what I’d done and bring those emails back.
Putting your work out there requires vulnerability. And boy did I feel so vulnerable knowing that people were going to read my novel manuscript.
It felt different than putting out a blog post. Partly because I’m used to sharing my blog posts and partly because I don’t invest nearly as much time in a 700 word post as I did in this 50,000 word manuscript. This manuscript was nearly 10 years in the making when you consider that the idea for it came to me when I was in high school!
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Once I got over the initial regret of sharing my work, I felt happy. Happy that I was finally taking steps beyond myself towards my dream of becoming a published author. Sure, sharing my work was scary, but it was also a necessity. If I couldn’t share it in order to get feedback from my peers, how could I expect to send it to an agent or publisher? Overcoming my fear of rejection was a necessary and powerful step in the right direction.
I felt capable. Like I was taking control of my dreams. When I hit send on that email, I felt strong and powerful.
So was the initial fear and anxiety worth it? Absolutely.
What’s the lesson here? It’s hard work taking the next step sometimes. You might not like it, but if you find the courage to move forward, it’ll be worth it. At the very least, you’ll feel proud of yourself for having taken that step.
Want to read a short story? Click here.
Enjoy your journey.