Jul 202013
 

A long time ago I wrote that I don’t like E-mails if they potentially contain something negative. Like a good ostrich I prefer sticking my head in the sand and hoping the bad stuff goes away. Guess what? Ostriches don’t actually stick their head in the sand, and E-mails don’t go away.

You've got mail! The horror!!!

You’ve got mail! The horror!!!

I had one again. Full of potential misery. Or potential happiness.

It was about a month ago. I was sitting in a café, pretending to practice my Spanish (it was a language café), but secretly just having a cerveza (that’s Spanish for beer). I got to talking to someone and she asked what I did. Somehow we got to that I was also busy writing a book. She loved fantasy books and would really like to read what I had. I directed her to my first chapter (which can be found here) assuming it would be done after that.

I got a message asking whether she could read the rest.

Well…

I didn’t know this person. None at all. She seemed nice enough, but that was it. And she wanted to read my (unfinished) book. The work of my heart, the torment of my soul. Just like that… The audacity!

That I didn’t know her actually made it a lot easier to say “yes”. If she hated it, it was just some random stranger that I didn’t care about anyway (or so I would tell myself). I sent my finished (first draft) chapters. And then I waited.

It took a while, but I got her E-mail.

And then it took a while longer for me to actually open it.

Feedback for me is both great and horrible. Great because it really allows you to “see” a part of yourself that you would never otherwise see because it’s so damned in your face. Horrible because it’s a (potential) confrontation with your shortcomings. And I love pretending that I don’t have shortcomings…
It’s silly. Reality won’t change one bit whether I opened that mail or not. Except that I would know… Know what she thought of it. Know how horribly bad it was according to her… Or perhaps how much she loved it… Or how it made her want to vomit, just reading the drizzle that I dared call a book… Or… (I could go on like this for a while).

I opened the mail.

The truth of course was somewhere in between. Which is the way it should be. She enjoyed it a lot. But there were possible points of improvement.

One small step in writing a book. One giant leap in feeling comfortable with writing a book!

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