So, I’m a yellow-bellied coward, because despite the encouragement of a loving spouse, I’ve never had the testicular fortitude to go find a critique group and let my work be torn apart. I had a friend offer to do it for me, but I stopped her because I needed to revise/edit the piece in question in major ways. That first draft has been done, and she offered to do it again, and I stopped her again, saying I wanted to do a unifying round of edits. (This is true; I want to make sure I bring the whole manuscript to the same level, if possible, because I grew a lot as a writer between first edits and what I’m ready to do now.) And when I’ve completed those — and the month of September is going to be dedicated to doing them — what excuse will I have not to let her do what needs to be done? I need an outsider’s objective eye on this thing if I want it to go anywhere. I can’t write in a vacuum. Unlike some authors I know, I’m not content to just put it in the hands of a select few by self-publishing. If I believe in my story (and I think I do), then I should be willing to toss it out for folks to see, right? I mean, an agent or editor isn’t going to take my sensitivity into account, are they? No, they’re not. They’re going to examine the book and see what’s wrong with it. Their goal is to weed it OUT, not pass it through. They’re looking for excuses to oust it, trying to find flaw. Doesn’t sound like a gentle or loving examination of the story to me.
So, the dichotomy. I’m not afraid of much, but what I’m afraid of, I’m terrified of. And for some reason, I seem to be afraid to let serious author-types read my work. Afraid they’ll say something that causes me to tailspin into an angry and bitter smoking wreck of despair and drives me away from the one thing I think I may do better than anything else in my abilities.
I have no idea, to tell the truth. None whatsoever. I wish I could answer that question, because I’d be a lot more stable. At least I’d have a reason, and then I could find a way to either dismiss it or substantiate it. As it is, I feel the sands running in the hourglass and can’t move to do anything because of the paralysis of fear.
I can’t keep on with this. This isn’t normal or healthy, and it’s certainly not going to get me published. What to do?