Chapter 8 - Sharing


The most terrifying part of the whole experience, for me, was when I shared what I’d written with others. Fairly early on, I realised the only way I’d be able to work out if what I had written was any good, and equally the only way I would be able to improve it, was to get real opinions from others. This was however, wildly difficult to do in practice.

You see, until I got to the stage when I was ready to share the first few chapters, I hadn’t told ANYONE (not even my husband - he was back in England so this wasn’t too hard) that I was writing a book. I was really worried about how people would react; I thought most people would think it was a bit embarrassing and really self-indulgent, so why put myself through the trauma of others knowing?

The first time I told anyone was when my husband, Chris, came to New York to visit. Even then, I was squirming inwardly as I handed him my laptop, telling him, ‘read this and tell me honestly what you think.’ Then I quickly left the room, I couldn’t bear to see his facial expressions if he thought it was rubbish.

Luckily, when I came back he was still reading and seemed pretty positive. I told him if he didn’t like it, or if it wasn’t his thing (it is a bit girly after all), he didn’t have to read it all. He continued to read, saying he wanted to see what happened next and afterwards, something wonderful happened; we had a conversation about my characters. I can’t begin to describe how great this was; someone else talking about my characters as though they were real and speculating about where the story was going, was truly amazing. This gave me a much needed confidence boost to share a little more widely, which meant when I had written a bit more, I sent it to my little sister, Alice. For Alice’s thoughts, see her blog post - Thoughts on Legacy (from my biased little sister).

Needless to say, Alice was keen and she’s been subsequently brilliant, less for (much needed) constructive criticism it’s got to be said, and more for general moral support, enthusiasm, confidence boosting, and encouragement, but that’s what I really needed at this stage. The criticism came later and is where my other sister will come in...