Watching the Disclaimers [Tall Drink of Nerd]

 In *Archives, Amy Robinson, Fierce and Nerdy

As blog comments go, the comment Ernessa left on my blog about giving up finishing my memoir, The Year That Sucked, was pretty intense. I’m not saying it’s the only reason I decided to keep on trucking with the novel, but it did sway me. Draft Two just went to my writing group for their feedback.

Sending my writing for feedback is almost as scary as being chased through abandoned woods by a hockey-masked psychopath. Almost. If anybody in my group insists on wearing a hockey mask to give feedback, then I might be equally as scared.

Every single time I share writing, whether aloud in a class or here with you folks, I feel an intense and overwhelming desire to add qualifiers. When I sent the second draft of the novel to the group, I wanted to write about 40 different things in the email about “I know I need to do more character development for Bubba…” Or “Some of these scenes are just rough sketches, I know I need to fill them in more.” Basically, a qualifier is saying ‘I know this sucks, oh and here are the areas that I know that suck. Just so you know that when you realize it sucks, I’m with you on that one!’

I hate that I use qualifiers (even stating that is a qualifier)! My desperate need to add qualifiers reveals my tender lack of self-confidence. Realizing that, I fight the urge to qualify, I think I’m successful about 70% of the time. I would love to display the sense of pride I have in my work all the time, but sometimes the neurosis wins.

At its most basic, sharing creativity is displaying your inner-most thoughts, feelings and desires, which is something most people guard pretty tightly. It’s like tearing your heart out of your body and showing it to folks around you, asking what they think of your heart. My aortic feedback is coming on Easter Sunday. But this time, in addition to being neurotically worried about the flaws, I’m equally exhilarated to get suggestions and reactions. I’m looking forward to hearing what fresh eyes see. I’m looking forward to getting feedback to make this story stronger.

After all the waffling, I’m glad I made the decision to keep going and finish The Year That Sucked. Hopefully by the 3rd, 4th, 5th draft, the only qualifier I be compelled to add is “I’m sorry that this book is so awesome that it’s going to make every other book you’ve ever read pale in comparison.”

So how do you deal with sharing your creative projects? I just read that Adele gets so nervous that she has thrown up before shows. Are you loud and proud when you share or do you feel the need to add disclaimers (or hurl) when sharing your art with others?

featured image credit: HPUPhotogStudent

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Showing 11 comments
  • Seen

    I get so nervous at Adele show’s that I throw up.

    I believe that anytime we bare our innermost thoughts that our ego tries to put the breaks as a psychological defense mechanism. Who wants to get their feelings hurt? But, success breeds confidence. Once you do something that can be judged, it’s all in the response. If you get a positive response, you get a lift, maybe enough to propel you to do it again. A negative response generally leads to a feeling of “it’s not worth it”, and you move on to something else.
    I’m speaking in general terms, there are always exceptions.
    So, keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to reading your novel.

    • Amy Robinson

      I’m putting some duct tape on the ego’s big ole mouth. I am looking forward to you buying my novel at full hard-back price.

  • Seen

    I get so nervous at Adele show’s that I throw up.

    I believe that anytime we bare our innermost thoughts that our ego tries to put the breaks as a psychological defense mechanism. Who wants to get their feelings hurt? But, success breeds confidence. Once you do something that can be judged, it’s all in the response. If you get a positive response, you get a lift, maybe enough to propel you to do it again. A negative response generally leads to a feeling of “it’s not worth it”, and you move on to something else.
    I’m speaking in general terms, there are always exceptions.
    So, keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to reading your novel.

    • Amy Robinson

      I’m putting some duct tape on the ego’s big ole mouth. I am looking forward to you buying my novel at full hard-back price.

  • Ernessa T. Carter

    I only have ten minutes b/f StayFocused kicks me off, but I’ll just say that this is the first step. First you get feedback from a group, then you get feedback from agents, then you get feedback from publishers. Then you have do it all over again. Weirdly enough, I’m currently waiting for major feedback on both a non-fiction project and my second book, and let me tell you, it is WAY easier the further you get along. I’m also remembering getting a pretty scarring rejection from a major publisher right before CH and I had an impromptu lunch with you and Seen that one day in Santa Monica. I remember telling you something about that and then quickly changing the subject, b/c it was making me so anxious. I also remember being hard at work at another project while 32 was out on submission.

    Feedback is a scary guy chasing you through the woods in a hockey mask. That’s exactly right. But remember, you’re a badass bitch. If you turn around and this guy hacks you to pieces you have it within you to drag your bloody body back to your computer and write another book. I think what gives me solace is that at the end of the day feedback doesn’t really affect my actions. If every single person on earth turns down my second novel, I’m still going to write a third, and what.

  • Ernessa T. Carter

    I only have ten minutes b/f StayFocused kicks me off, but I’ll just say that this is the first step. First you get feedback from a group, then you get feedback from agents, then you get feedback from publishers. Then you have do it all over again. Weirdly enough, I’m currently waiting for major feedback on both a non-fiction project and my second book, and let me tell you, it is WAY easier the further you get along. I’m also remembering getting a pretty scarring rejection from a major publisher right before CH and I had an impromptu lunch with you and Seen that one day in Santa Monica. I remember telling you something about that and then quickly changing the subject, b/c it was making me so anxious. I also remember being hard at work at another project while 32 was out on submission.

    Feedback is a scary guy chasing you through the woods in a hockey mask. That’s exactly right. But remember, you’re a badass bitch. If you turn around and this guy hacks you to pieces you have it within you to drag your bloody body back to your computer and write another book. I think what gives me solace is that at the end of the day feedback doesn’t really affect my actions. If every single person on earth turns down my second novel, I’m still going to write a third, and what.

  • Ernessa T. Carter

    I only have ten minutes b/f StayFocused kicks me off, but I’ll just say that this is the first step. First you get feedback from a group, then you get feedback from agents, then you get feedback from publishers. Then you have do it all over again. Weirdly enough, I’m currently waiting for major feedback on both a non-fiction project and my second book, and let me tell you, it is WAY easier the further you get along. I’m also remembering getting a pretty scarring rejection from a major publisher right before CH and I had an impromptu lunch with you and Seen that one day in Santa Monica. I remember telling you something about that and then quickly changing the subject, b/c it was making me so anxious. I also remember being hard at work at another project while 32 was out on submission.

    Feedback is a scary guy chasing you through the woods in a hockey mask. That’s exactly right. But remember, you’re a badass bitch. If you turn around and this guy hacks you to pieces you have it within you to drag your bloody body back to your computer and write another book. I think what gives me solace is that at the end of the day feedback doesn’t really affect my actions. If every single person on earth turns down my second novel, I’m still going to write a third, and what.

    • Amy Robinson

      It’s a good thing when artistic compulsion is stronger than fear. Screw fear! You’re right, it has gotten easier. I remember my first feedback session when I kick-started the writing again. I think my lips were blue from being scared. Now, a slim majority of my reaction is anticipation to get some outside views. Thanks for, once again, letting me know it ain’t easy for most creators, but when you gotta write, you gotta write.

      • Ernessa T. Carter

        Oh, and I also meant to say that I had a writing teacher at my all-women’s college that taught us to NEVER to submit our work with disclaimers. It was a like a rule. She had a whole speech about feminism and self-esteem and how it actually does make people think less of you when you do it. So now I never, ever do it, just because I feel like I’m breaking the rules by doing so. Funnily enough, I have to fight the temptation to do so all the time in blog posts. Consequentially I think I come off a lot more confident than I am IRL. But hey, I’ll take that. 🙂

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