Today I was lucky enough to receive 20 precious minutes and a critique from the managing director of a major Australian publisher. She'd read the first ten pages and synopsis of my WiP last week.
That 20 minutes turned into 40, and she gave my writing so much praise I was starting to repeat my thank yous out of sheer astonishment. I definitely used the words "you're so nice" too many times - someone could've turned it into a drinking game and gotten smashed.
Now this woman is a total stranger. She didn't know me from boo. But she saw something lurking beneath the surface of my writing, and it's something I've been struggling with for about a year.
The writing lacked ME.
It was good, she promised me. Excellent, even. But where was the passion, the uniqueness, the voice that made it stand out?
Her question brought back memories of a time in 2011 when I was writing PRINCE OF CITY NIGHTS. I had read so many "how to" guides and so many blogs that the rules/guidelines/whatever you want to call them were whirling around in my head every time I sat down to write. I struggled with a blank page for almost a month. Eventually I stopped reading blogs, shut the voices up, and just wrote.
So it's happening again. While I can switch those immediate voices off, it seems subconsciously I'm still thinking of my target audience (and getting published) over writing what's in my heart.
I'm not sure how to overcome this problem because it's so hard to get out of the mindset, but I'm thinking if I work on the story I'm writing purely for me and my friend (just for fun), as well as practicing some stream-of-conscious writing, I might be able to shake the nay-sayer voices off. If you have any extra advice, I'd be glad to hear it.
And, yes, for those of you who are curious - she asked to see the full manuscript once I'm done with revisions *insert flailing here*