Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The need for constant reassurance

Last night, instead of playing a striker, I played an attacking midfielder, which I haven't done all season. I felt a little lost, in people's way, and generally of no use.

After the game this is how my conversation went with my husband:

"How did I play?"


"What did I do that was good?"

"You passed well and you got the ball to the wings well." "

"Anything else?"

"You looked tired at times and you needed to move into open space."

"Did I do anything right?"

"You played well."

For the record, I had kind of a hard game. I gave the ball away too much and I really didn't know what I was doing, but I wanted some praise even though I maybe didn't deserve it.

I think that's why I get my family to read my chapters before I send them off to beta readers. Generally I don't get critiqued too hard by my nieces and sister. They give me rave reviews, which feeds my need for reassurance just before reality hits when my beta readers tell me what I need to change.

What about you? Do you give your chapters to your family to read first knowing they won't say anything bad?


Jen said...

I give my first draft to my husband because I know he'll be insightful and kind the first go-round. He is still honest with all of his opinions they just don't hurt as much from him. The second round is where we get serious and the first hurt has disappeared!

Great post!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Great post!

As much as I hate to admit it, I always need reassurance for everything. It's frustrating that I can't just be happy with how I am and how I think of myself without other opinions.

For every draft I have what I call a "cheerleader" - someone who just cheers me on and doesn't give any critical feedback unless they deem it absolutely necessary.

T. Anne said...

I WISH I had family that wanted to read it, read anything. Alas I am from a family of non readers. But like you, I do prefer praise over a critique any day. ;)

Robyn Campbell said...

Uh the hubby is the critic from HELL! hehe

Actually, he's very honest and I want that, but then when he criticizes, (which we've all ready established that I want) I get all huffy and say, "Well, you didn't have to read it." Or, "Think you can do better?"

Poor guy, poor, poor guy. =)

He's always got great things sandwiched in, though. Humph, like he thinks he knows what he's doing.

He really is a blessing and I have changed many things, because he proved to me that it was the wrong direction to go.

I love this post, Patti. =)

Janna Qualman said...

Yes, absolutely. You had me at your post title. Reassurance and affirmation. They're so important.

Heidi Willis said...

My husband hates fiction. He says he read my book, but I'm suspicious. :) I don't ask him to read what I write because I think he'd not be especially a good trial reader, and since I write more adult stuff, my kids don't work at betas either.

I feel so fortunate my crit group is always as positive as they are critical, and between crits we are always telling each other how amazing each other is and how talented and how lucky we are to have found each other... it gets a bit sticky sweet sometimes. :) But in the best, best way, because I get that positive always from them.

This business is so critical and negative and full of rejection, we need to find the reassurance that it's worth it from someone. And we need it often!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

My CP gals have become like family to me, so yes I give it to them first. My last MS my mom said she didn't want to read until it was finished and ready for querying. She said so many of her fav scenes got cut out of my first MS during editing that she didn't want togo through that again. lol.

Family is great for giving unconditional love, but my CPs give the tough love my stories need. ;)

PS..I bet you played great!

Jennifer Shirk said...

No, but I do have a few crit partners that I KNOW will boost my ego even when i don't deserve it. :)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I have one sister who reads my work before anyone else. She's a writer too and gives me the good first, then the bad and the ugly. She usually finishes up with more good -- 'cause she knows I need that reassurance you're talking about!

Laura Pauling said...

No, I don't give them to my family to read because I know they'll just say it's good. And they don't get the whole writer thing. If any of them actually pushed me and really wanted to read it, I'd let them. At this point in my life, I'd rather just get to the hard crit. :)

Tabitha Bird said...

Yeah, I have someone I give my first drafts to. She feds my need for warm and fuzzies, and then I send my writing out there to be killed by my loving betas :)

Jessica Nelson said...

I wish I had someone to give them too! I'd totally do that for praise. LOL
I'm sorry about the game, but sounds like you did well with what you knew to do. :-) Did your best, and that's what counts.

Jaime Theler said...

I usually have my kids read it somewhere in the middle to make sure it passes the kid test, but I save my husband until last, because he's pretty brutal and I have to gear up for it. I still love him anyway.

patti said...

No. They just aren't the "give reassurance" kind. Sigh. And it's okay. I'm way past the point of wanting nice little comments, anyway. I want rips, tears...only in the interest of getting it right...or at least hearing what my crit partner thinks is wrong. B/c if SHE thinks it's wrong, so will at least a hundred readers...

Rhino skin in Normal

Elaine AM Smith said...

I give my chapters to my daughter knowing she is a reluctant reader who hates "fluff" and "cheese" - her words for when I write stock phrases. I say, "Yes, but, everyone else will know what I mean!"
She says, "Cut it. No one would say/do that. Cut it and write what you mean."
That's what I need from day one.

beth said...

Oh, nooooo. Nonono. I don't share at all. Because then they get attached and angry at me when I change stuff!

patti said...

Missed you today, Patti!