The State of Drafts

Say you’re writing a story that is, in part, about your life. Because you are a Clause, you have an intense sense of family, so it is about your family as well. And it’s just so amazing that your favorite second sister is here to stay so you can discuss all the family particulars with her.

But, oops, in a moment of weakness, you told her she could read the draft. You even told her the title (which, in all fairness, your husband came up with). You thought you were far enough along (draft 15, baby!) that you could take whatever comments she had.

You have cold feet almost immediately. Conventional wisdom says keep your writing close to your chest (and the chests of your beta readers) before you publish. Past experience says that you never know how other people’s comments will affect you. You remember comments from your ex about how she was so pleased to read the poem about her, when it was not about her at all.

Actually this ex has taught you a lot about how to deal with other people’s interpretations of yourself. You stayed friends after you broke up, which was not a good idea, as you mooned after her for years. You let her tell you anything, even when it hurt. For many years you had no boundaries when it came to this person. Fortunately you have wised up by now.

Your favorite second sister has no ill intentions in the world. But the place of creation and the drive to continue is unbearably delicate. It’s like the moss in the desert that takes 30 years to grow and a minute to destroy with your footsteps. You don’t mean to step on it, you maybe didn’t even know it was there.

What do you share? How and when?

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9 responses to “The State of Drafts

  1. Dear Indy

    I know I told you I didn’t want to hear your reasons, as I stomped into my room, and slammed the door. I TOLD you it’s whoever is strongest is who wins (and that’s clearly me. I am a full inch and a half taller, and you’ve seen my biceps!).

    But, you had to do our dirty laundry in public! You had to tell everyone else why you won’t let me read the draft before you told me!

    If you REALLY have cold feet, you wrap that curly, white-haired, lamb-like creature you call a dog around your feet and warm them up.

    Hand over the draft!

    Love (sort of),

    Cougar

    PS- Am I supposed to be sensitive and understanding?

  2. Note to readers: if anyone had seen the size of either Indy or Cougar’s biceps, they’d be wetting themselves laughing at the thought that they are casting this arm wrestling as some sort of clash of titans.

    PS- Cougar’s [very small] biceps are nonetheless much stronger than Indy’s

  3. When I first started writing, I let my mother read a some of what I was working on. I don’t do that anymore.

    P.S. I can take you both with one biceps tied behind my back. Which is how you’d arm wrestle anyway, I think, but still.

  4. I send chunks to snarky poets, sometimes, and German friends, and librarians who have answered theoretical questions about human-to-Anatidae transformation without blinking.

  5. Wait! “Past experience”?

    I share my stories with my wife, who nearly always has helpful advice. Sometimes with specific children of mine if they have a particular insight I want. Rarely with fellow writers. Otherwise, no one.

  6. Even my husband only gets finished (or close to finished) pieces now. I’ve learned that any criticism (good or helpful or negative or even wonderful) is a derailment for me.

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