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Jul 30

Repeat after Me: Your Book is NOT Your Baby

WHAT’S PLAYING: DuffyWarwick Avenue

 

A while ago, I resolved to put off having children until I was financially and emotionally stable. I’m well on my way to accomplishing the first task. As for the second…well, let’s just say that I’m not going to be on the cover of Sanity Fair anytime soon. In fact, I’m pretty sure that by the time I’ve worked through all the kinks and snarls in my mind, I’ll be so far past menopause that any eggs I have left will be hardboiled.

 

But while I’m more than happy to defer childbearing, lately when it comes to my writing, I’ve suddenly turned into some sort of crazy stage mom. Every word is precious, and any hint of criticism is a personal attack. This is a problem, especially now that I’m about to put my book into the hands of my beta readers.

The scenario will probably play out something like this:

WHAT THEY SAY: “I like the book, but I think this scene could use some tightening.”

WHAT I HEAR: “You’re ugly and stupid, and your mother dresses you funny. Oh, and your writing sucks.”

I guess this sort of reaction is natural. I’ve poured so much time and energy into this project that in some ways, it’s more “mine” than any child could be.

 

 

But, by investing so much of myself in this book, I’m not doing it, or my self-esteem, any favors. As a writer, I can’t afford to get so wrapped up in writing the book of my heart, that I lose sight of my true purpose: to tell a good story.

The truth is that this book is just a book. Yes, I’ve cried, sweated, and cursed over it into the wee hours of the night, but it’s still a creation, not an extension of my self-worth.

 

 

Still, if you happen to walk by and see me weeping hysterically while clutching papers to my chest and howling at an uncaring sky, just… look away.

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/07/repeat-after-me-your-book-is-not-your-baby/

4 comments

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  1. Melinda VanLone

    Been there! Done that! Got a t-shirt! 😀

    1. JacquiTalbot

      Can you tell me how to get through it, and still keep what little sanity I have left? Also…there are t-shirts?

  2. S. Zainab Williams

    It’s hard to detach. I’ve been workshopping my short stories lately and that’s helped me to not only develop a thick skin, but also to recognize my weaknesses and improve my self-editing skills (I hate getting feedback about mistakes I should have been able to point out and remedy myself).

    1. JacquiTalbot

      You are a braver woman than I am. I know getting outside feedback is vital to the process, but the thought of it makes me shrivel up inside. Oh well, bring on the criticism. I know it will only make me a better writer in the end.

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