Fantasies of Acclaim

Tonight a writer I admire and respect is critiquing my book manuscript. Fear and nervousness quickly give way to feedback fantasies:

  • “This is the best book I have ever read in my life.”
  • “Your prose is the best ever written in the English language.”
  • “You didn’t know this about me, but I happen to be a millionaire, and I would like to fund your genius.”
  • “Because your book is such a god damned masterpiece, I went ahead and showed it to my publisher. She wants to publish it immediately. In fact, I showed it to multiple publishers, and they all want to publish it immediately.”
  • I walk into the room (this is more of a writing workshop fantasy), and before class even begins, everyone stands up and starts clapping. The teacher wipes tears from her eyes. Her mouth says “Bravo,” but no sound comes out because she is overwhelmed with emotion.

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What Other People Think

I have a friend auditioning for The Voice this weekend. She’s not telling many people because she doesn’t want to make too big a deal about it or get anyone’s hopes up (including her own maybe?). I want to tell her: please don’t let these judges—no matter how talented, powerful, or accomplished they may be—define you. Don’t let your enjoyment of the moment depend on their reaction to it. This is, of course, easier said than done.

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