After a year of belonging to two different writing groups and taking various writing classes, I’ve started to become more focused on what other people think of my writing, rather than the writing itself. Gone are the mornings when I’m jumping out of bed, eager to write the next chapter. Now I spend my mornings biting my nails, wondering what feedback awaits me in my inbox.
Of course I know that constructive criticism is integral to improving my craft. Every opinion I got, I asked for. But I’m burned out. I’ve received so many widely differing opinions on my work, I’ve begun to question whether there’s anything in there anybody actually likes.
I’m also tired of critiquing. I’m tired of having to analyze why something doesn’t work. I miss reading for entertainment. I miss reading for escape.
I’ve forgotten what it’s like get excited when a story takes a direction that surprises me, when a character says something unexpected, when fictional places on paper begin to feel three-dimensional and real. This goes for both reading and writing. Once upon a time, I used read and write for pleasure, simply because it felt fucking good. Now it’s all become a chore.
It’s not fun anymore.
Next week I’ll be sending out queries for Creep. I can’t control what agents will think of it, but I do know that in a few days – after five full drafts – I will cease to touch another word in that manuscript. I will declare it complete.
If signing with an agent becomes dependent on making further revisions (if I’m lucky enough to even interest an agent), I’ll be happy to apply any and all feedback that makes the book stronger. But God knows I’ve asked enough writers what they think. It’s time to put it out there and see what happens. The book is good enough, or it’s not… but either way, I am so done with it.
To keep my sanity while in Query Hell, I’m going to start the next novel. And try to remind myself that, for the next little while anyway, the only opinion that matters is my own.