Whomever said “Without Risk, there can be no reward” was on to something. It is a saying that applies in spades to we writers.
We can write as much as we want, but until we actually let someone see it, we have no idea if it is good, bad or indifferent. Indeed, I would argue that without making it available for critique we writers will never really grow in our craft.
That sort of flies in the face of the “Practice makes perfect” mantra, but without feedback, we may get stuck writing the same stuff over and over. All that can do is solidify any mistakes we are already making. Granted, as we continue to write we probably start to see more and more of the problems (assuming we are prone to self-analysis) so our work should improve over time. I just don’t think it will improve as quickly as it might if we received outside feedback.
I am especially guilty of not sending my stuff out for review. I think it might have something to do with some of the useless, negative critiques i’ve gotten in the past. My favorite will remain, “I can see why it was rejected.” Great! Would you mind sharing your wisdom with me, oh great guru?
In the past months, I have put some of my work out for public consumption; namely two of my short stories in podcast form and I’ve entered a couple contests. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten much in the way of “I liked it, but…” or “it really didn’t grab me…” or much of anything else, really. That doesn’t tell me much except, it was either so bad that people quit listening/reading, swearing never to darken my virtual door again or it was “OK” and not really worth commenting on. I suppose, if the optimist in me were to step forth, it could also be “I liked it and don’t really feel worthy to comment”.
So, in an effort to both try something new and find out if I’m any damn good at something I’ve always wanted to write, I’ve got a new project underway. You may have already heard me hinting/talking about it. I’m writing a Science Fiction/Comedy that will be podcast over the coming months.
This addresses the whole “I’ve always wanted to podcast a book” and “I’ve always wanted to try my hand at humor” aspects of my creative aspirations. I figure that with 20 episodes of “Get Published” under my belt I have the tools I need to podcast the book so I’m only a little nervous about that aspect of the project. The writing humor side of things is an entirely different kettle of fish.
I think it may be because I have very high standards on that front.
My absolute favorite writing is Science Fiction and Fantasy as you may know. If I can get it with a healthy helping of humor, it’s even better. I’m always watching for the next new Terry Prachett book and I used to be that way with Robert Aspirin (until his untimely passing). I also make a habit of reading Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy” as least once every year.
Those three writers cast pretty big shadows and I want to do them honor by writing something they wouldn’t toss into the bin. It has taken me this long to get to actually attempting it BECAUSE I let their work intimidate me.
No more. I have already written and started recording the first episode of my new podcast which is titled “GalaxyBillies”. It is the story of five Hillbillies who are kidnapped by an alien starship and how they take the galaxy at large by… well surprise, I think more than anything. The first episode will be up on the site (and available in my “Get Published” feed) December 24, 2009.
I hope you will take the time to listen to the story and, love it or hate it, chime in with your comments. Because I am writing it episodically, if something isn’t working, I can adjust it on the fly. Your comments will help me with that.
I am nervous about the project, but I know I have to do it. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a very long time so why not get started now? I hope you will join me in the grand experiment.
Other than the new podcast, I haven’t been up to much. My NaNoNovel is sitting quietly, waiting to be edited in a month or so and my fantasy novel is shelved for the time being. I have submitted a story to Absolute Xpress’s Flash Fiction contest and am waiting (patiently) to hear back in the coming months about that.
Oh yeah, and I’m getting ready for the holiday season. That’s enough, isn’t it?
Have a great week!