I got my first email from my content editor! Not that she’s actually read the manuscript for The Tethering or started editing it yet. It was really just an introduction email, but still I am thrilled!
But here’s my question. I am a professional actor. We deal with criticism and rejection on a daily basis. Will being criticized as an author really be any different?
As an actor in order to get a job you have to audition. That means walking into a room and being stared at by people you don’t know who are judging your talent, how you look, and even who you know. Even if you are the person with the talents most appropriate for the show, you can still be rejected for being too fat, too tall, or too pale. I was recently told I couldn’t even audition for a role because I was too thin. But I spent four years in college being told I was too fat. They would weigh us three times a semester and our scholarships, casting, and grades depended on our weight. I was lucky. I was strong enough that not even the head of the dance department could break me. I made it out with my soul and stomach lining intact and have been a professional performer ever since. But still I have to audition. And once you get the job you are given notes in rehearsal. “Kick higher,” “belt louder,” or the infamous “do something else with the character,” are things that drift through rehearsal every day. And once the show is finally open, critics will come and publish to the world all of your failings. Or at least what they see to be your failings. It may be something the director told you to do that you’ve hated from the beginning. And still more notes. Always notes. The scene is too fast, too slow. Smile more. You’re too smiley. Always.
When you’re writing you create a world. You imbue your characters with life. You choose what to put into their souls. Now someone is going to take my precious characters and critique them. Tell me they’re too slow, too mean, and their hair is the wrong color. The characters that came from my mind will now be judged by someone else. But when you perform, the character you portray on stage comes from your soul as well. Someone else wrote the characters in the script, but you choose how to present them to the world. From nothing you bring life. Acting and writing are very similar.
But a critique of The Tethering will not include whether or not they think I’m fat. Nor will they feel the need to jot down notes about my inability to belt like Sutton Foster. My words and my artistic abilities will be judged, but not me. Not my face, not my waist. Just my words. I think, and I may be naive, the editing process will be easier for me as I hide behind my laptop. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see. I’ll let you know how it goes.