BIRTH OF AN UGLY DUCKLING

What do you do with your manuscript, painting, or piece of creative work once it is finished? The next step is really hard. Once you’ve finished you have to show your work and get feedback. When I started writing, I never thought I would finish, so I never thought about the next step. Once I finished the first draft I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to show it to anyone because I thought it sucked and I was embarrassed not only by what I wrote, but also the quality of the writing. I’m not a writer and it showed in my work.

But when you’re done, you’re done. I could have keep rewriting the thing over and over and claimed that it was never done. I could have made improvements on the manuscript for years, but even if I’d known what I was doing it would have made the story only marginally better. Plus, I was glad the first draft was done.

It took me two years to write the damn thing, it was like battling a monster for two years, I was tired of it. Not only was the process of writing difficult for me, the subject matter was difficult.

The whole story is of me talking about a traumatic event and my physical and psychological challenges in dealing with it. It was exhausting to keep going over the stuff. I don’t want the avalanche to define me. I don’t want to be that guy that spends the rest of his life talking about some tragedy that befell him. That scared me. I wanted to move on.

I just had to finish the damn manuscript. Once I did finish I felt lost all over again. I no longer had the routine of waking up early and writing before I’d go to work. I didn’t know the next step. Well, I did know the next step, I had to get someone to read it but I didn’t know who.
I listened to a podcast with the author Steven Pressfield and the editor Shawn Coyne about how you don’t want to dump your book, screenplay, manuscript, etc. on your friends or family; you need to find a professional and pay them to read it and give you feedback. This suggestion made sense to me. That’s where I’m at trying to find and editor to work with. I think I’ve found one but I don’t know. I’ve read a bunch of articles about how to find an editor. At this point I’ve got information overload. I don’t know what I’m doing. I think I’m just going to pick one and move on.

In the meantime my sister said she wanted to read the first draft. She thought it’d be a good idea for her to read it, give me some feedback so I could clean it up before sending it to an editor. That worked for me, so I sent it off to her. I think both her and her husband are going to read it which is good, I’ll have feedback from two people. Maybe yes maybe no.

Because of the personal nature of the story, it’s a memoir, and because my sister is biased because she’s my sister and she was a major part of the story, I wanted to find someone that doesn’t know me to read it and give feedback. That will happen soon enough I guess. In the meantime I’m looking forward to hearing the first criticisms of that ugly duckling I wrote.

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