Nerves

April 23rd

{My fifth and final example of why the Indiana State Tourism board should hire me.}

Indy

One of my personality quirks is deep, unbridled nervousness at the absolute worst time. It is a cunning emotion that runs me over. One moment, I’m fine. The next, I’m hiding in the guest room — sweaty with my heart racing.

I can speak publicly no problem. My palms sweat a bit. I can handle a first date like a champ. I talk too much. To often I am the unfortunate center of attention at parties, sharing loud, obnoxious stories. Again, I talk too much.

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It wasn’t until 7 pm or so when the first book club members started trickling in that I got nervous. Palms sweaty, biting my lip, belly flip flopping, nervous. I texted Mini a handful of times, who told me under no uncertain terms I had both put myself in this situation, and it was a damn fine place to be.

Calm. Down.

She was right, of course. After shaking a few hands and seeing what a nice group it was, my nerves did settle. Here is the thing with writing: it is personal. If I had a dollar for every person who said, “You can’t take it personally…” before giving me a critique, I’d be Midas rich. It makes me so angry to hear those words: “Don’t take it personally.” Show me an entertaining novelist who isn’t eating, dreaming, and breathing their book and I’ll show you a fake. Writing great fiction is personal.

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While in some ways it gets easier — you won’t be the first or last to love or hate my novels — in others, it is isn’t. Last week I received a rejection for a writing opportunity I was convinced would fall in my favor. And it stung. I sat before the email, view blurred,  bobbing my head back and forth so the tears dripping off my chin would miss the keyboard.

“Don’t take it personally.” This was a criticism of my storytelling, style, way of communicating.

I took it personally.

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I received little criticism at the book club meeting. I think those from Indiana are just too kind, or too mild mannered to be rude in front of the author. Their compliments filled my sails and helped ease a bit of the pain from the week prior.

I love writing. It is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, without question. I recognize a significant aspect of the art is sharing your work with others, knowing it will sink or sail depending on the reader. As this craft gets stronger and confidence in my abilities increases with each page — I’ll be able to distinguish those critiques that matter.

Until then, let these nervous butterflies fuel dreams of being back in Indy next April to discuss a completed and published novel 2.  (I have a lot of work to do.)

Thank you again to all my new Indy friends!

~K

Posted in
Journal, Novel, Travel
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One Response

  1. As someone who loves to write, gets nervous and takes too much personally I can so relate! How can you be creative and not take it personally? Whether you are an artist with paint as your medium or a writer using words, the creative spirit speaks from the soul and to be critiqued is like a dart to the heart! But I do feel (notice I didn’t say think ha, ha) that its not that we feel we are above criticism but that those who truly understand the creative spirit probably wouldn’t critique, they would just look at you, nod and say “I got you !”

    One of my mentors recently told me something that has helped me not to take things so personally…”When there is a comment from someone that we may take personally, we need to remember that it is not necessarily about us but more often than not is about the other person. By changing our thought process and trying not to feel, we tend to understand the other person a little better. Then perhaps we may come to the realization that everything in life even a comment or critique is an opportunity to grow and to learn about our fellow human beings and in the process learn more about ourselves.”

    If that doesn’t work, a nice glass of wine will do the trick! 🙂

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