I recently joined an online community of writers. This week I started submitting blurbs, wanting so badly for my work to be read that I picked out a scene of action from my completed fantasy novel. This particular scene comes late in the book and made little sense without the knowledge that comes from having read the preceding 7/8 of the work.
I am such a dork.
Last night, as I tried to go to sleep, I realized that the reason I had posted was to get the "attagirls" from other professional writers... I needed some justification for the hours (1 year+) spent creating that manuscript in my little cave of an office. Guess I should have hit my knees instead of my keys. Lesson learned... I hope. I have a track record with God of being a repeat offender in the area of "glory" seeking... sigh.
What I got from my community--from writers whose opinions I respect-- resembled nothing remotely like a pat on the back, although one guy worked really hard to make his critique sound "nice." (He may be my new best friend...) Instead of "attagirl", I got the reactions of some very confused readers who had no idea why this scene should be considered a good example of my writing ability. Ouch.
So... I went back, detached myself, and tried to read the post as if I knew nothing about the characters other than was included in the little blurb of action posted. Turns out, I agree with the critics. Double ouch with an "I'd better nuke this off before a publisher reads it and remembers my name as a future member of the slush pile!"
The moral of the story? Well, if you go fishing for compliments, you might just catch a smelly old shoe. Healthy, lowfat salmon swim upstream--I guess I need to look UP a little more before I put my writing out there in the big river.