...with a little help from my friends.
As I type this, my story has been sent to three of my closest, smartest, and most wonderful friends. I've known all of them since my freshman year of college, and totally trust whatever feedback they have (and will continue to) inevitably throw my way.
I stated in my last post that I'm a little over 50,000 words (or 200 pages). So far I've sent a little over 16,000 of those words out to my friends (so...roughly 64 pages).
The biggest obstacle I had to overcome? Hitting the send button, once I'd attached the pages to an email. Before then, it wasn't real. Before I hit that button my story was just something that I had written and kept to myself - some secret way of understanding my own life that I didn't want anyone else in on.
But then I decided to just let my guard down and entrust the few honest words that I've managed to write to people who will always have my back, tell me like it is, and, occasionally, be more enthusiastic than I ever thought was possible.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and happily my friends agreed to read my scrambled thoughts - and really touched that they've been so awesome and supportive so far! Now, I might be jinxing myself because my third friend has yet to start reading, but so far the reception to what I've written has been positive, which is definitely affirming and encouraging.
It is hard to find a better feeling than the one you get when someone tells you that the thing you've put your heart and soul into is actually pretty good. Every time I hit that send button, I hold my breath, letting the self-doubt creep in. What if I'm not good enough? What if I actually can't write? What if this whole thing just sucks?
And then, every time I get a text or an email back from a friend, I let out a sigh of relief. Because,so far, all of the feedback I've gotten has been pretty constructive and positive. Apparently I am good enough. I can write. And this thing won't suck.
So, there you go, folks. My take-home message for the day is this: If you've put everything that you have into something, share it with a friend, a loved one, or a random stranger on the street. Odds are it's pretty good. Or, if a friend asks you to critique something that they've done, help them out - you don't know what a huge difference you will make.
Without these three people, I would have given up. I would have stopped. But now that's not an option.
Eleanor Roosevelt has this pretty famous quote - "Do one thing every day that scares you."
I think she was onto something.