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Waiting for Beta Readers' Critiques: Misery and Pain!

I have been blogging about beta readers lately. And, somehow I ran into this blog in a draft file today. No date on it but, I must have written it in 2016 after forwarding my "Claim Denied" manuscript to my beta readers. It captures my struggle while waiting for my beta readers to send me their comments.
No lie!

Do you know about beta readers and what they do?

Beta readers review finished manuscripts before those manuscripts are published, providing the author with feedback from the reader’s point of view. They can be friends or family members, as well as authors. Anyone who will approach the book as a casual reader, pointing out things they liked and disliked, and highlighting the elements writers no longer see after countless revisions.

So, now, I have seven beta readers who kindly agreed to read my book and return their comments to me within three weeks...on or before that deadline.

I sent them my manuscript 14 days ago.


So, meanwhile, I ran into a fellow writer two days ago. Imagine this happening to you.

You are an author, you run into your author friend on the street and you ask her how her book is coming. She puffs out her chest and says, “It’s in the hands of my beta readers. Should get it back in a few days and it’ll go to my editor.”

Yeah, like she’s proud, happy, eagerly waiting, expecting the good news: her book is brilliant!

You manage to say, “That’s wonderful!”

She says, “In the meantime, I’m enjoying this time off and I’ve started another book. You’re gonna love it!”

 Hmmm. Okay. I’ll admit, maybe that’s true. For her. But for me?

I tell you what's going on with me and how I function ... or not ...while waiting for my beta reader critiques.

At first, I experience an exhilarating sense of accomplishment which is short-lived and borders on false, of course.

Then, I get busy and clean my apartment, which has barely been touched since… well, since I moved in a year ago.

My effort to clean wains. I stop at the bathrooms and jot notes on my white board about a new book idea. It's not long before I realize I have a deep-seated psychological problem: emotional self-harm. I erase the evidence.

I swim, bike, and walk until every part of my body aches. I deserve to suffer and therefore refuse all medication to ease my pain.

I talk to my friend. Yeah, singular. Down to one friend now. Why? Because I don’t engage in conversations.

No dyads. Just one-way communication. Monologues where I obsess and explain, in detail, how I regret wasting eighteen months of my life… so far. I write schlock.

I mean, really, who wants to hear that? I can hardly stand it myself.

I work constantly to avoid these five self-flagellations. I say to myself, do not:

1. Worry my manuscript will reveal these utter truths:

a. I’m a fraud.
b. My book stinks.
c. I suck at writing.
d. I am not and never will be a writer.

2. Believe my beta readers are taking all this time because:

a. My book is so bad they can’t get through it.
b. They hate the story and pity me for trying to write such idiocy.
c. They don’t know how to tell me the truth.
c. All of the above.

3. Eat Publix Premium Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Moose Tracks Ice Cream. Especially no more eating it after lunch and dinner and as a before-bedtime mammoth snack.

4. Drink wine to excess. (Well, maybe just red. Specifically 19 Crimes Red Blend, because my book is a mystery thriller.)

5. Take sleeping aids. They cause this recurring nightmare:

My beta readers circle around me, too close, invading my space. I’m gasping for air. Even though they are wearing n95 face masks, their maniacal laughter assaults my ears. They turn their backs to me and skip to a bonfire where my manuscript serves as fuel. They remove their masks, and dance and sing Randy Newman’s “Short People”. Louder and louder!

Short people got
no reason to live
They got grubby little fingers and dirty little minds
They're gonna get you
every time
Well, I don't want no short people
Don't want no short people
Don't want no short people
'Round here
So far, nothing soothes my soul. 

Seven more days to survive.


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