Monday, January 23, 2012

I Feel Naked...

I'm at the stage of the game where I feel naked--vulnerable, I guess. Critique partners are finishing their feedback, beta readers are going through a (more) polished version, writer-friends are looking over my query letter, and I'm starting to share my "pitch" when it comes up in conversation.

Image by Bob B. Brown
Exciting, right? One little problem: I'm stuck in the universal nightmare. Yep, that one. It starts with a seemingly normal situation, then... wait. What's this? I'M NAKED. Everyone's staring, maybe even laughing, but it's too late to cover up.

It's the same thing with this book. Sharing my story will mean putting myself out there. I'll have to expose myself to a variety of reactions, and I can't turn away. I mean, that's what I signed up for, isn't it? It's what we all signed up for.

Maybe it's time for me to feel comfortable in my own skin--or, in this case, my own words. What about you? Anyone else (figuratively) naked?

Have a great week, guys!

64 comments:

Iain said...

Trust me. They won't be laughing. You should be very proud of what you have achieved :o)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Oooh, a long time I did a whole post called "Writing Naked". I wish I could find the link - I'll look for you. Hey, you're doing a lovely job of handling your nudity AND as someone who's read your work, you don't have to worry about ugly wobbly bits LOL. You're talented!

JeffO said...

Since November, I've shared my full MS with my wife (that was the hardest, let me tell you), my sister-in-law, two great readers that I know from the World of Blog, and my Writer's Group (only one of them has read the full, I'm waiting for her feedback). It's still hard to do, but I'm getting more comfortable with being naked in public. Err, with putting it out there. And by 'it' I mean my work, of course. Querying will be a whole new kind of nakedness, though.

Matthew MacNish said...

It is a bit like exposing a raw nerve, but in the end, I think it's worth it.

April Plummer said...

I don't know if we can ever feel completely comfortable. I bet even the big-name authors freak out once in awhile or worry about a certain review or fear their editor will send the manuscript back with more red marks than white spaces. :) *hugs*

Lisa L. Regan said...

If my book was as good as yours, I'd never (figuratively) wear clothes again. I'd be flaunting that nakedness for all to see! All naked, all the time!

Don't worry, this is a natural feeling. It, too, will pass. Your skin gets thicker and you gain confidence in your own abilities. One day you'll be all, "Yeah, that's right. I'm naked. You got somethin' to say about it?" Heh heh heh.

But seriously, don't sweat it. It's a normal part of this process, for one thing. And for another, you're brilliant.

Mina Burrows said...

I agree, putting it all out there is difficult. But...nothing ventured nothing gained. Keep positive thoughts. You've done the work and it will be awesome. :)

Emily R. King said...

I love a great critique. If my wip comes back and it's not bleeding, I'm terribly disappointed.
: ) We should have a writer's nudist colony for crazies like me.

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, I hope you find it. Sounds like a good read! (And I guess naked minds think alike! *grins*)

Hah! "Ugly wobbly bits." I almost spit out my drink. Thank you! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, thanks, Iain! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Oh, yeah. I remember you were anxious about sharing it with your wife, but it seems you've come a long way since then! (You word-exhibitionist, you!)

I agree. Querying will be a whole new kind of nakedness. Eek!

Carrie Butler said...

A raw nerve, huh? I like that! Thanks for stopping by, Matthew! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Hmm, you know, I think you're right. I guess we're all destined for a life of figurative nudity! ;)

*Hugs* Thanks for the reality check!

Cassie Mae said...

I'm always naked. But I hate laundry, that's why. (Haha, I crack myself up sometimes!)

But really, I feel figuratively naked all the time too, but I'm okay with that because it encourages me to 'work out' and cut the fat and tone and get all sexy sweet. That's what putting my stark butt out there is all about. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! You kill me. Repeatedly.

"All naked, all the time!" Okay, okay. I'll (try to) stop snickering now. ;)

Thank you, my friend. You have no idea how much your support and encouragement mean to me. Somehow, you always manage to put things in perspective. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Too true, Mina! Thank you! I certainly hope so. :)

P.S. I hope your writing is going well!

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! Oh yes. A writer's nudist colony would be perfect for the cra... I mean, brave ones! ;)

Sarah B said...

Mine is out there right now and the best thing I've done is get totally immersed in another story. It makes you less self-conscious about the one that's already out. And when you get to the point when you want to do major cosmetic surgery because you have story dismorphic disorder, another shiny idea reminds you put down the scalpel. (Hmm, I may have just found my blog post for tomorrow.) :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Oh, yes. I totally feel your pain. My goal is to start querying in February. Ugh

Clarissa Draper said...

That's exactly how I feel when I put my work out there. When someone complements, I'm over the moon. When someone criticizes, I want to put on clothes.

Claire Hennessy said...

Ooh best of luck. This nakedness is prob the reason why I still haven't finished my darned book!

Botanist said...

I felt pretty darned exposed the first time I put something on a forum for critique. I think my skin has hardened a lot since then, but I haven't given a thought yet to having something out there in the big bad world for all to see. I can't imagine how that will feel, so please let us know how you get on!

Joylene said...

I'm purposely not reading the others' remarks, and instead I'm going to be brave and admit that every author feels this way. I bet even the best sellers do. I saw an interview with Rowlands and she admitted as much.

But honestly, the best thing that ever happened to me was when a critique blew my socks off and made me wonder whether I was an idiot when I thought I could write. I was actually willing to give it up. For about 2 days. Then I sat down, read the critique again, especially the part about her wanting to throw my story across the road, and got back to work.

Criticism is never easy. But it is the most valuable thing to a writer. Even the terrible ones. Even the useless ones.

Joylene said...

Haha, see I was so emotionally upset by my memories that I wrote road instead of room. She wanted to throw my book across the road? Duh. Okay if readers were waiting for it, I suppose.

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! Oh, Cassie... ;)

Nice! I hadn't thought about it that way, but you're right. The naked thing is a huge motivator to 'work out'!

twentysomethingfictionwriter said...

Ah! I'm so scared for this stage, but I can imagine what you mean. I'm starting the critique stage, but once it hits betas I will seriously have a panic attack, haha.

Jenny S. Morris said...

I totally understand. Having my CP's finish my book has left me feeling naked. That's it kids. That's all she wrote. But it has to happen I guess.

Angela Brown said...

I'm still in the working-through-things stage but I can certainly understand where you're coming from. Not a pleasant place to be, but you're getting closer to your end-goal. Comfort in your own words is just a two-piece away.

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

Yup. I'm always "please help me with my query" and "please critique!" and then once it's out there, I'm absolutely horrified.

Lydia Kang said...

...as a jaybird, my dear. Feel like that all the time now!

Janet Johnson said...

I feel the same way every time I get a critique! But I guess the going nude helps build my thick skin. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Good call, Sarah! Maybe I need to throw myself into the sequel for a while. (Then I can run around naked, but blissfully distracted!) Thanks! :)

Oo, yeah! Sounds like a post, to me!

Carrie Butler said...

Mine, too! (I think Nancy is going to query around that time, as well.) At least we won't have to descend into Query Hell alone! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Exactly! I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Claire! You know, I think it may be time to get over our fear of nakedness. Our books need us to be brave! ;)

Linda said...

We all feel that way at some point! It'll be okay, though :)

Carrie Butler said...

Wouldn't it be great if we could just smear on "rhino skin" like body paint? Public opinion? Hah! It doesn't affect us!

...Wishful thinking, of course. We'll have to brace ourselves for the big, bad world the old fashioned way: equal parts support and determination! :)

Carrie Butler said...

You are brave! You know, knowing it happens to everyone really does make it easier. It seems expected, natural. (...It sounds like I'm talking about puberty! LOL)

I had a critique like that, too. Like you, it took a few days to get over it, and then I was right back at it--more driven than ever.

Too true, my friend. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! I missed that. The road is a little extreme, I think. *grins*

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, we don't want that! Breathe with me. Breeeeeeathe. :D

Good luck with those critiques!

Melodie Wright said...

*whispers* I'm naked all the time. Under my clothes. ;)
Honestly, my skin is thick from years of exposure. It's more like a wrinkly, elephant-skin hide which protects me quite nicely.

Carrie Butler said...

Exactly! I guess it's one of those inevitabilities. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Very true, Angela. This discomfort means I'm one step closer to my goal. Good luck with the working-through-things stage! That's a "fun" one, too. ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Yes! I guess we better get used to being horrified. It doesn't sound like it'll go away anytime soon. ;)

Carrie Butler said...

I guess we're all in the same boat! :)

...Why did I read "jaybird" as "mockingjay" the first time? Get out of my head, Hunger Games! *grins*

Carrie Butler said...

At last! Figurative nudity has a benefit! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Of course it'll be okay. You're back in the blogosphere! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Melodie! How scandalous! *grins* Nice.

Susan Oloier said...

Definitely. Whenever someone reads my work. We as writers put so much of ourselves out there, it seems natural to feel naked at times.
Great post!

Nancy Thompson said...

Oh man, I so used to feel naked, but over time, you get more and more comfortable telling people what your book is about, pitching it, for lack of a better term, more and more often. I used to feel so self-conscious about the dark and violent nature of my story, but people have been so intrigued and therefore, I've become more comfortable opening up about it. And you will, too. Same goes with queries. Rejections, however painful, produce scar tissue that makes you tough and resilient.

Carrie Butler said...

I guess that's what makes writing so powerful. We put so much of ourselves in it, that it has to come at some cost (vulnerability). Thanks, Susan! :)

Leigh Covington said...

Thanks for hopping by my blog today. WOW - yours it wonderful! So glad to find it. And I know what you mean about feeling naked. Man - it's hard to be out there and reveal yourself like that. You can do it though! I can already sense your awesomeness!

The Golden Eagle said...

Not yet. But I know I'll have to put my work out there at some point--and I'm sure I'll feel the same way!

Carrie Butler said...

Hmm, I guess it's time for me to get tough and resilient, too. Onward to Query Hell, Nancy! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you so much, Leigh! It's great to have you here! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Prepare for the figurative nakedness, Eagle! (It sneaks up on you.) :)

Sophia Chang said...

I'm very protective of who and more importantly WHEN I share my work. I'm not afraid of a harsh critique, but only at the right time :)

Carrie Butler said...

Sounds like a healthy mindset! :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Ahh, yes. The naked feeling. I'm not sure that ever goes away! I mean, if things go the way you want, then more and more and more people are there with your words and... I guess it's just time to be comfortable being naked. (Great analogy, btw!)

Carrie Butler said...

We'll have to channel our inner-exhibitionists! *Grins* Thanks, Pegasus!

Melissa said...

I laughed when I read this. And shuddered, too. I'm right behind you (Um. Not literally. LOL), holding my shed clothing in front of me, trying to decide if I can take the plunge and let go. Oh. Wow... sorry for that visual. = D

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! This post prompted a whole host of awkward visuals. And awkward conversations.

...Like the part where I encourage you to get naked and join the rest of us. LOL

Rachel Morgan said...

Um, yes! I just sent a story off to several different people for review so I'm feeling REEEAAAALY naked right now!

Carrie Butler said...

I bet! Don't worry. There's a positive side to it, too. If the other comments are any indication, being "naked" is the best way to develop rhino skin. :)