No Going Back Now

Yesterday, thanks to the beauty of Twitter, I realized that people could now maybe, possibly, actually be reading the final version of my new novel.

I realized this, and my heart almost stopped!

Oh, there’s still a ways to go before ARCs (advance readers copies, for reviewers), but I think it hit me just now: This is happening.

For real.

It’s even more strange to imagine anyone reading this novel because I don’t show too many people my writing. I showed this manuscript to even fewer people than the manuscript I wrote before it—and I didn’t show that many people the last one. Most of the people who’ve read this new novel have really only seen the first few chapters. For some reason, the more years I write, the more I want to keep my writing close. You’d think I would be the opposite.

Why have I turned so shy?

Or I wonder if maybe it’s a weird kind of confidence. Not that I think I don’t need feedback—this novel would absolutely not be what it is without my editor. Maybe it’s just that I’ve taken all the feedback from all the years of writing before and am still incorporating it, on each new project, and I think (I think) I know what to do to get it to a certain place. Who knows.

Maybe keeping my writing close is a reaction to all those years of workshops—feedback from so many voices, often saying opposing things, until your mind knots up in utter confusion and you put your stack of scribbled-on stories in a box* to revise later and, ten years go by, and I guess that story’s dead.

Or maybe it’s simply that I’m a private person. (Yes, even though I have a blog, I swear I’m private.) And this novel felt so close to me, I couldn’t imagine sending it out in the world.

Though soon it will be.

Out there. In the world.

(Scared.)

Even though I’m shy and private and possibly sometimes a tiny bit confident, maybe, I do have some envy over writers who have critique groups. I think that’s pretty great to have critique partners you band together with and continue sharing manuscripts all through the years. How wonderful that must be.

How about you? Do you keep your writing close or do you show a few cherished, lucky people?

And to those of you long past workshops—grad school or otherwise—has workshop ruined you or do you miss them?

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* See my closet. Or under my bed. I still have the comments from my workshops in grad school on stories I barely even remember writing!

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