Dirty Houses and Messy Manuscripts

In the past six months, I've had the chance to meet two awesome women, my CP/BFFs Christine and Julie.

I know what you're thinking.

Yes, they are as awesome in real life as they seem online. Yes, I am actually taller than Julie. Yes, Christine does make the most a-MAH-zing scrambled eggs.

And no, I didn't watch them sleep (tempting) or hold them hostage in my crawl space when it was time for them to leave (also tempting).

When Julie came, I had just moved into my new house (living there for over a month still counts as JUST moving, right?) and there were still boxes everywhere. Within five minutes of our meeting, I had her and her husband helping me stuff boxes in a closet so we'd have room to hang out.

When Christine was here, she did my dishes on more than one occasion. She also babysat my kids while I picked my husband up from work.

Although our visits were--overall--super fun, I mention these lame things because inviting your best friend into your disheveled house is kind of like turning over your disheveled MS to a crit partner. It's not perfect. There are rough spots. There are embarrassing parts. There are things that don't work. But it's okay, because they are your friend, they love you, and they're there to help.

Turning a rough draft over for anyone to read is hard, but giving it to someone who cares about you takes away some of the pain. They have your best interest at heart. They don't want you to strain your back carrying those heavy boxes by yourself. They want you to try eating crab that's cooked right so you can get over your seafood phobia. And they want your story to be the best it can be.

It might be mortifying at times. It might make you feel like a dork. But, when the boxes are cleared, the dishes are dry, and the manuscript is fresh and tight and beautiful, you see that the most daunting tasks are better with a friend or two.


Amber Clites said...

I wholeheartedly agree! It took me a long time to find a CP, and even then it was hard to turn over my WIP. But after the first couple of critiques, I was thanking my lucky stars and wondering why I hadn't done it sooner!

amber-girl said...

Sounds like you found some priceless friends. It makes me smile to read this post. Honest and true and vulnerable. :)

Now where can I find a few friends like that? Sometimes we can be surrounded by people but feel quite alone. We smile and laugh on the good days and manage to make it through the bad ones....but there's always that search for someone like a kindred spirit, who overlooks the flaws and adds glitter to what counts, right?

Good luck with your writing, I truly hope you achieve all those desires of your heart!

Robyn Bavati said...

Jeigh, what a lovely post! It reminds writers - at all stages of their careers - that nothing is more important than friends.
Robyn Bavati

Sarah Pearson said...

A reminder, if one were needed, that writing is not the solitary business that many believe.

Angela Ackerman said...

So very well put. The people who see us (and our manuscript) at our worst are the ones that help us (and our stories) become our best! :)

E. Arroyo said...

I agree. =)

Melodie Wright said...

Oh great analogy. I'd never thought of a beta that way before. They're my co-housekeepers! Hmm...probably shouldn't mention that to them. ;)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Oh how great! Would you believe I've never met any of my CP's and in fact, I've never met my co-author?? Horrible, right? This is a great analogy and such a true post.

Julie Maughon said...

How did I miss this? LAME ON MY FACE.

Yay for the wonderfulness! But I will have you know, world, that Jeigh is only a *teensy* bit taller than me (or, you know, two inches. Whatever). Of coure, down here in the lower 5's, every victory counts. :) Short girl CP box-moving power!

Love you.