learning to ask

Asking for help doesn’t come easy, certainly not to me.  It’s not that I don’t want to admit to needing help, it’s more that I don’t want to be a bother.  But unless you ask, nobody knows what you need.  Unless you learn to articulate your needs they will remain unmet.

Writing is a lonely business.  Personally I like that.  I will come out and say I am not much of a team player; if there is a job to be done I prefer to get on and do it myself and if somebody else has done it I have to sit on  my hands to stop myself redoing it the way I would have done it.  I can be a right royal pain in the backside to work with.  The idea of writing a book with somebody else freaks me out, I just cannot imagine how they do it, but Nicci French (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) are proof that it can be done, and very successfully.  But probably not by me.

However,  sometimes I wonder if I am writing in a void.  I have thousands of words neatly stacked away in one and a half novels and various short stories but nobody to read them.  I have no idea if they are any good, readable, a load of rubbish or somewhere in between.  I have shyly told a few people I write, but aside from my internet friends, only a few of my IRL friends know.  Well that was until last night.

I came clean on Facebook and asked for readers and criticism.  With two exceptions everybody I know on FB I know IRL.  They know me as a colleague, friend, mother, whatever.  Almost none of them know me as a writer.

I was terrified, it’s fine for someone you don’t know and will never meet to give you a hard critique on Authonomy.  It is quite another for someone you will have to face every day to come back to you and say “whoa, love your cakes but not so keen on the books”.  Worse still, what if they don’t even want to read anything you’ve written.  “I’ve seen your cakes but don’t fancy any of them.”

I wrote the post, I looked at it.  I had a glass of wine.  I asked the opinion of the dogs (I really did).  I closed my eyes and hit submit.

They replied in droves, yes they would love to read it.  Please send it to me.  I have a friend who has a small publishing house would you like me to contact her?  I was staggered.

So, in the light of my earlier post on graciously receiving I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who responded to my post.  And I would like to say thank you for proving to me that you only have to ask.


2 responses to “learning to ask

  1. Oh well done you!That was a really scary thing to do . When I started to tell people that I wrote a blog, I winced at the possible replies I might get. Like you, I dreaded people hating, or even not understanding, what I put so much of myself into.

    It is hard “marketing” yourself. Everyone I know says it is much easier to market someone else, to say “Oh, my friend does X, it is lovely.” Saying the same thing about our own work is a different thing entirely, it can be excruciatingly embarrassing to suggest that we have done something worthy of positive criticism. I think, for me, it goes back to childhood when I was discouraged from “boasting” and “showing off”. Each time I suggest that what I have done is good, I cringe.

    A friend made me say something highly positive about something I had done. To say “I did this and it was very good”. That was all. Gosh it was hard work. The words simply stuck in my craw.

    I did eventually spit them out, and she has made me say them again about other things. Each time it gets easier.

    So we will all read your work and some of us will like it and some of us may find it less our cup of tea. But in and of itself it is good. Make sure you tell yourself so.

  2. Well done for being so brave!! I am so shy about what I write and am sheepish about giving anyone details in real life. I even cringe when my family read my work.
    I’m so pleased for you that you got a positive reaction and support from your real life friends xx

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