So I’m at this retirement party for these two guys my husband used to work with and I’m talking to this woman–another former co-worker of my husband, but also a friend of mine–who mentions she read (at least started to read) the original story I tried drafting in real-time on this blog. That story was an epic fail. When I’d told her about the blog months earlier, I’d begged her not to read it.
At the party, we’d been talking about kids and school and books and goats. Somehow the blog came up.
She stood across from me on the deck holding a paper plate of hor’dourves. “Well,” she said rolling beef brisket around with her plastic fork, “You’re writing is good…” This was a reference to a Facebook post of mine in which I overshared a comment my ten-year-old daughter made, “Mom, you’re good at writing, just not that good at making up stories.” Something like that. My daughter’s point is valid–I often struggle with plot and my stories are rarely uplifting.
It’s no biggie that the friend at the party didn’t like my blog story–I don’t like it, either. But I walked away from the party wondering why I’d brought this pain on myself.
Yes, part of writing is knowing not all readers will like your work. BUT when you put your work out there, you usually choose your best stuff. The stuff, at least, that you like.
Why would I leave that horrible story out there (when I know it’s horrible) then warn people not to read it? That’s like strolling around town in pasties and a thong yelling, “Don’t stare at my junk!”
My original intent with this blog–for better or worse–was to force myself to reveal in-process pieces of my fiction. That’s the whole Hot Pink Underwear idea. But after that first mortifying experience trying to draft fiction online, I’ve never revisited the concept. This is probably for the best. Nobody really wants to see anyone else’s underwear, unless:
- They love you.
- You’re a Victoria’s Secret model.
- They want to laugh at you.
Maybe I should embrace #3. The thing about #2 is that people DO want to see something that’s aesthetically pleasing–and the better the stories, the more readers will want to read them. Duh.
I’ll never write totally consumable fiction (or be a Victoria’s Secret model). That is my reality. But if I want to avoid ridicule, I can at least stop letting my junk hang out like some sort of literary exhibitionist.
Today I removed the content of two posts. I left the first couple posts in which I started drafting the story, since they weren’t that bad and other posts kinda relied on them, but I eliminated the worst of the story (the later posts where the story gets terrible).
Recently, another blogger invited me to participate in an Author tag game. The game requires posting a section of your work on your blog. My plan is to find and post a piece of writing I’ve polished and am proud to share.
Then when people say they don’t like it, I’ll at least feel better.