If I die today, someone who loves me will put my work on Kindle. A little kid will stumble on it, someday, and my literary immortality will begin as it did with so many famous writers. I don’t really have to put something out there that isn’t perfect.
You’re going to die someday. Maybe in this very hour. You can hide your work. You can keep working it until it has lost any freshness it had, to the point where it actually is terrible — because you were too afraid to toss it out there. You say you want honesty, but what you really want is honest love. You want criticism that will make the work better, but not in a way that suggests your work isn’t perfect as it is. You want the criticism to say, “This is so good but you missed something so great in it that you need to show us more, do more with it — I’m not suggesting it’s not perfect, or trying to impose my ideas on your perfect work.”
You want the impossible. You won’t publish or submit until your work is without anything that some ass on the Internet can’t pick apart and reveal to all that you’re not the next Shakespeare.
Did you give it your best effort? No?
Put it out there. If it sucks, you deserve to get bashed or (more likely) ignored.
You’ll learn from this.
I’m not capable of giving anyone good advice. All I can do is tell you “I did this, and it worked for me.”
I was going through a hard time in life and writing. I saw I’d removed all of my work from Amazon because I was going to ‘fix’ it. I wasn’t submitting work to magazines.
I read a tweet during my time-wasting online. It’s here somewhere, but I’m not stopping to find it — I might save this as a draft to post when I’ve had time to polish it. (If you think this is an argument for posting or submitting unprofessional or unpolished work, then this piece isn’t for you.)
The tweet said something like “Perfectionism is a roadblock you put up yourself, and it will stop you from achieving anything.” Maybe it wasn’t like that, but it was enough. I reposted all of my stories and books on Amazon, and submitted 8 stories. One was accepted within 24 hours. One was rejected within 24 hours.
What are you waiting for? If it’s perfection, you need to look in a mirror, so you can stare your worst enemy in the eye. That person is trying to kill your work.
You need to do the thing he or she doesn’t want you to do. If you do that, you might end up like me — feeling I’ve lifted a great weight from my back.