Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Being Ninjaed

I thought I should follow up on my WriteOn Con experience, now that it's been about a week since I participated.

Overall, I give the experience a solid B+

It was a lot of fun to hang out with a different group of writers for a little bit.  Not that I'd ever be looking to replace AW.

There were a lot of interesting things going on at the con, a few WTF things, and a few things that weren't really new information--but the theme was back to basics and it really did do that.  I liked interacting with people.

And I liked that I built up the guts to finally share my work with the public.  Here's the thing (or at least the thing for me), until you share, it's easy to live in a fantasy bubble.  It's easy to pretend that you could be writer, even though you have no idea if people will like your writing.  Obviously, I like my writing.  I think it's good enough--or will be good enough someday.  But sharing that first piece of work can really burst your bubble.  Especially when you share over the internet.  It's so easy to be critical when it's not face to face.

It took a little bit of encouragement.  A little bit of trying to get people to tell me it was a bad idea.  And then I shared.

And then the comments started coming.  Most were good (yea).  A few offered some good suggestions (even more yea). Most said they would keep reading even though there were flaws (triple yeas).

And then it happened.

A ninja found my story and thought it was worth the time to comment.

I can't really share my first reaction to noticing a ninja had posted on my thread (I can't share inappropriate words here, just in case), but there was a little bit of sweating.  Then I was braver than I'd ever been and I clicked the thread to read what they said.

I was prepared for the worst.  My (first draft!) writing wouldn't be very good. I was wasting my time, I should find a new night job.  I built it up a lot in my head.

But it wasn't bad.  It also wasn't good.  It was rather neutral.  He explained some things that didn't work (which all made sense to me), but the best thing about the whole experience?

He said he would have read on.

That was worth more than anything else I heard that weekend.  An agent would think my writing was worth reading more of.

So I came out of the experience feeling better about my life as a writer.  I can do this.  I'm not about to give up on it.

It was the best thing that happened to me all conference.  Even though his post started with some negatives, it helped me realize that I am a writer.

How did I figure all this out?  By showing a little bravery.


  1. Kudos for your bravery! I can only imagine how scary it was to post something up there knowing that there was always the possibility a real live agent could come and publicly tear it to shreds. But it sounds like you made out okay! ;)

    I like your point about it being easy to pretend that you could be a "real" writer when you've never shared anything. Working up the nerve to share is by far one of the most important steps! (because as we all know, if your goal is to be published, then your goal is essentially to put your work out there for the entiiiiire world to see and comment on. Terrifying!)


  2. So glad you got a Ninja comment! Hurrah! Yay that he would have read on. Am so pleased for you. Go you for sharing your work.

    I got a Ninja comment on a first draft too, much the same experience. They said it was a good start but needed more tension. For a first draft the words 'good start' made me feel like it must be worthwhile! Esp as the piece as a whole didn't have a ton of comments, not like some of the entries, which is fine, but I did wonder if that reflected that it wasn't v. memorable. But if an agent took the time to comment it can't have been that bad!

  3. Woot, congrats on being ninjaed, that is amazing! I unfortunately didn't get too much time to spend on WriteOnCon, just popped in to do some crits people asked me to do, but from what I've read/seen people really liked it. Maybe I'll get to *properly* attend next year.

    Also glad to hear that sharing your work just encouraged you to keep going!

    (Oh, and congrats on finishing that second draft!)

  4. So excited for you! I participated as well but wasn't ninja-ed. That is really cool and should definitely boost your confidence. Now you can edit and make it better. The editing process can be rough but totally worth it. I like that you already believe your writing is good enough. It will be even better one day because you're getting critiques!