It is one of the scariest things for a writer: handing the story you've labored over for months (maybe years) to someone else. Waiting with your heart in your throat while they read it. The sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you get an email from them, chock full of their thoughts about your baby.
I've been living with this feeling for months.
The three amazing ladies who beta'd my book were prompt, kind and insightful with their advice on how to improve my work, and I am forever grateful. I won't hesitate to ask them to beta for me again. But there is one more person, a non-writer, who still hasn't given me my book back.
This is the trouble with non-writers. They don't understand what a big deal it is for a writer to ask them to read their work. They don't get that it's pretty much the scariest thing for a writer to do. That the stack of papers in their hand, the file in their email box, is exactly like a child for that writer. It takes courage to ask someone to read your work. It's terrifying.
So, what do you do when you hand a non-writer your book and months go by without a word? I've asked casually, pretending it's not a big deal. I've tried hinting that I would like it back by the New Year so I can start working on it again. Nothing has worked. This particular non-writer is an avid reader who zips through books like no other. Was it wrong of me to assume they'd be finished with mine relatively fast? Does it mean they are bored with my book? That it doesn't live up to their standards? Or are they just taking their time so I get detailed feedback?
I feel insulted and hurt that I still don't have my baby back in my hands. I try not to, but...it's a huge deal that isn't being taken very seriously. It was a huge deal that took a ton of courage. Shouldn't they feel privileged? Shouldn't they want to do their best and get it back to me? Instead of letting it collect dust only God knows where?
So, have you ever handed your baby over to a non-writer? Did they take it seriously? How soon did you get it back? What would YOU do if you were me?