Monday, June 9, 2008

Changing the "Baby"

by Terri Ferran

I dressed up my "new baby" (my manuscript) and sent her out on her own last Saturday to face the cold, cruel world of Editing from those wonderful people who have agreed to read it and tell me the truth.

Mingled with the joy of actually finishing the manuscript, is the fear of having someone hate it; or liking it, yet picking it apart.

I mentioned my fears to my daughter, telling her it was like showing my real baby to someone and having them say "Cute, but it's cross-eyed" or "Did you notice its ears are crooked" or "It could use a little more hair" or "Your baby is ugly".
She explained that I was looking at it wrong; that it was more like a shower, where people might say "Here's a bow to make your baby prettier" and were giving me gifts to help my baby.

I realized that my biggest fear was that someone might say "Oh, your baby stinks! You need to change it!" Or worse, never want to hold my baby again.

Like many writers, I hate the criticism of my creations; yet I know I am a better writer because of it. I value the input from others, but find that I dwell too much on small negatives and not enough on the huge positives. I let the moments of glory be overshadowed by mountains of doubt--my own self-doubt.

My goal for this week--enjoy the shower of gifts and ignore the downpour of doubts!


Christine Thackeray said...

I'm slushing through the editing process right now. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Two beautiful babies, how do you do it? The flesh and blook one is a great acheivement all by itself. Good luck with your manuscript. Can't wait to read it when it is offically born.

PS - Smart daughter!

Anonymous said...

I hope you have a sence of humor. I meant flesh and blood.

Thanks, Sidne

Terri Ferran said...

The really cute one (the flesh and blood one) is really my granddaughter--so only 1/4 of the genes are mine! (Must be the cute genes!)

Although sometimes I felt like the paper "baby" exacted a pound of flesh...

JoAnn Arnold said...

Reading your comments that your manuscript is like your baby, and you putting it out for all to see and critize or praise, reminds me that I share in all those same fears. You put not only your baby out there, but yourself, as well.

I've decided we authors must love to write. That it's imbedded in our hearts, our souls as well as our imaginations. I have to remind myself that God gave me that gift, so I'll just rely on Him to be my advocate.

Thank you for sharing how you feel. It made me feel better about myself.