A person who is becoming an online friend has asked me to do the impossible: she sent me a sample of her unfinished work, and asked for me to comment on it.
Worse than that, she has said nice things about my own published work.
She has no idea what she’s done.
I have been agonizing for two days over this simple request.
Why? Because there is no way to fulfill it OR turn it down.
If I didn’t value her friendship, I would merely have said, “No. Sorry. I don’t read other writer’s unpublished work unless we are in a writer’s group.” And let it go at that.
Instead, I’m going to send her back an email that says, ‘Please read THIS blog post about Why I Cannot Read Your Writing.’
With the bunch of links I have gathered (yes, I’m trying to pawn this off on the professionals), and a separate list for those which use bad language.
And the additional information about me:
- I have CFS and considerable brain fog: every minute when I’m coherent is fought for with blood.
- I am no one. I have published (self-published) one novel.
- I have been writing for twenty years, and just last fall got to the point where I had something publishable; it is impossible to condense that experience.
- I have NO editing experience beyond working on my own novels.
- I wouldn’t know where to start.
- I don’t want to. It will take/has taken me out of my safe mental writing place already.
- If you really, really need my commentary, my going rate is currently $1200.00 per hour (see 1., above), and we will still have to negotiate about whether I will work for you.
- Having to turn down a friend has already cost me those two days of agonizing over how to do this.
Google on your own the phrase, ‘I will not read your writing.’ In no particular order:
Relatively clean links:
dmattricino (Writers Digest)
Links with language I don’t usually use (read at your own risk):
What to do if you want feedback:
Create a critique group.
Join a writers’ group.
Join a professional association and request a mentor.
Put your work in public – which is automatically asking for feedback. I did this: I posted Pride’s Children, a new polished scene every Tuesday for two years.
Join Wattpad and post your work (they also have groups where you can specifically request feedback).
WHY DOES THIS MATTER? BECAUSE IT DOES
To be absolutely clear, I have not even read the rest of the email which incited this rant: as soon as I figured out what was being requested, I stopped reading the email. I did not read a word of the work sent to me.
And if you think I’m making a huge deal over a tiny request, then remember I take this step with the full expectation that I will lose this friendship which I value AND I will be called nasty names by others who may read this post.
Because… go read the links.
What say you: Am I being paranoid?