I went to an author's group for the first time this week. Yes, through my entire process of writing this book, I never consulted other writers to review my book, discuss plots, character arcs, do critiques. Not once.
I don't know if that makes me a unicorn pirouetting across the stage at Carnegie Hall, (rare) or just dumb. But I do know this, I saw a lot of angst about the writing process in that group. Agonizing about how long it has taken to write, chafing under unkind statements about the quality of writing. Ugh, you get the idea.
Writing is a joy for me. I love being in the world I have created , seeing characters come to life (and even show up on their own,) the thrill of "seeing" magical things happen, and daydreaming about what is going to happen next. It's fun to do research too, diving into the Wikipedia rabbit hole and seeing what weird and wonderful place I come out to next, and the shimmering, exciting moment when I suddenly know what the next plot turn will be. It's all just fun to me. I can't wait for the day when that's all I have to do.
Until I was done writing and had done one complete edit, my sweet baby book saw no one else but me. My husband and I discussed ideas from time to time, but even he read it only once it was all done. I was protecting it, and my heart, from being tromped on and crushed by well-meaning critics. When It was done, I carefully selected two people that I trusted to read it. I sweated it out for months until they got around to it. And when I heard that they liked it, I got more confidence to let it go out, first to my coach and then to the Acquisitions Editor at Morgan James Publishing, Terry Whalin, where it was accepted for publication.
My point is this:
Writers are the makers of worlds and dreamers of dreams.
The creative process, of course, is different for everyone.
But don't let anyone come between you and the world you are building.
If I had, I might never have gotten published.