I had forgotten how much I like to blog. There hasn’t been a lot of time for it lately. Blogging is a relatively instantaneous process. With a quick turnaround (well, if you have a schedule and keep to it and if people comment) the project becomes satisfying unlike longer works that require tedious but necessary amounts of time to complete, never mind getting it out there and getting a reaction.
Reading a post by Jessica Abel just the other day sent me thinking. I have been talking about the changes I have made in my novel for a long time now, too long to be honest. Every time I appear ready something comes up. Avoidance technique, perhaps? Jessica posed some very good questions about this very topic, from have you told anyone, to having a websites and actually sending to reviewers for feedback.
The strange thing is that although I could tick the boxes to most of the above things (most, not all) I am still talking instead of doing the publishing. In other words I having been toying with accomplishing. Why? I had to ask the question. Ironically the title of Jessica’s post provided the answer. “I’ll tell you what it’s NOT. It’s not perfectionism.”
Jessica explains that perfectionism “implies that you just have really high standards for yourself. Calling your problem perfectionism makes you feel as if you are being virtuous and discerning.” In truth it is a way to avoid feedback, the feedback publishing brings. I have kept up social media, certainly I have worked hard with RS (my new editor and a very nervous one) but I haven’t really pushed the point that I have polished my novel and want people to read it, and that it is coming soon.
Instead my work sits waiting for action. I am afraid, I admit it. Crazy, isn’t it? All this trouble and hard word to make improvements and I still hesitate? What if there is more I can do? Jessica’s post has made me rethink my reality, actually knocked me in the head with it.
“Perfectionism is attempted future-proofing” which sounds quite impressive but just means you think people might be critical in their comments. In fairness to myself I have had some technical hiccups but hiccups have solutions. Fears are harder to solve. So I sat on that thought for a while and it made me sad because I realised everyone in their own way has a novel situation of their own.
I am not alone in fearing to complete a project. Analysing this I wondered how best to gain some perspective. I agree with Jessica that we have evolved to a point where we “won’t be outcast to wander the grasslands until that lion gets you” just because we haven’t met the standards of others. The crux of the matter, or our true fear, is asserting our individuality. I am so grateful I read Jessica’s post.
Years ago when I got really brave and completed a degree at the age of forty, I remember that a couple of my friends would constantly say things like, ‘wow I could never do what you’re doing’ and it bothered me. It was a compliment but the repetition of it and the manner in which it was said always gave me a strange feeling, an uncomfortable feeling. The assertion of my individuality, perhaps made me flinch? Or did they make me flinch?
I guess asserting ourselves will put us under scrutiny but the choice to either let it stop us or boost our determination is ours. There are so many more people willing to lend a hand, to support than there are unkind critics. I actually bit the bullet and asked an author friend for help and the earthquake didn’t happen. Obviously there are no lions in his grasslands.
Blogging somehow creates an exchange whereby an understanding of the self and your own situations can be related to other spheres. You don’t have the continuity (or the amount of words) a novel demands and the pressure is less. The desire for feedback is less-threatening or at least appears that way and you can clarify thoughts and fears so much better.
I better get a move on then. I am aiming for two days maximum to upload. In the meantime this is from Emotions in Eruption, a poetry anthology I hope to put out before Christmas this year. I think it describes a little of what has been going on in my head. Comments please?
In the market place of
You wonder fiercely
About your oddity.
Exclusivity is your sole aim
But the playing board denotes
A violent game.
Questions fly with deadly speed
Voracity must rise to meet the need
So you cry choose me, choose me
And have no patience then to wait and see
And life revolves around the passion
That kills, destroys and mutilates compassion.
You need to stay alert to read the news
You have to be on top to get the clues
Those paradigms are flying fast
And you need to be the first not last
Open up and listen very well
And be prepared to run
Upon the bell.
Bye for now,
Another thoughtful article, Barbara. And by a strange coincidence, I stumbled over a related article which might interest you and your readers: http://blog.janicehardy.com/2015/06/how-to-know-when-youre-ready-to-publish.html. I think the advice boiled down in the end to, when the feedback you’re receiving is due to differences in personal taste, it’s ready.
I hope people take a look at the site you gave me. It is a good post and makes the point well. I totally agree, when the difference is personal taste then its time to get on with it. Thanks for the link and dropping by.
What a fabulous poem! You have a gift indeed
Thank you. So nice to have you comment.