I read your last chapter, he says.
His remark takes me by surprise.
Normally, he only reads my writing if I ask him to, and I had not asked him.
Hoefully, he liked it.
It’s riddled with errors, he says.
It’s a first draft.
Even though it is a first draft, not ready for anyone else to read, I already kind of like it.
What didn’t work?
Just about everything.
Can you be more specific?
What about content?
I was too distracted by the other problems to get into the story.
What other problems?
I can’t remember.
Try to remember just one thing.
Missing information, unclear, unorganized.
Has anyone else read it? He says without the “I hope” his tone implied.
Just the people I wrote about for a fact check.
Well, it’s riddled with errors.
I try to take his comments in stride; I want to use his observations to improve the work, but I’m feeling mildly unsettled. Not mad, but embarrassed.
The self doubt knocks: Was the writing that bad? Is the entire manuscript that bad? Am I fooling myself competing for a spot in the marketplace with some of the most talented memoir authors in the business?
Even though we need feedback, whether positive or negative, and we know we need it, why are we writers so vulnerable to critique? So quick to defend? So introspective?