Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stepping into the Light

Think back to the first time you stood naked in full light in front of the man you were going to make love to. At the risk of being indelicate, I wanted you to have a clear understanding of how writers, at least this one, feel when they have to share their work with the world. The emotions run the course from vulnerable, to nervous, to concern, to fear of not measuring up, to worry of being found lacking.
Some writers have little trouble sharing their work but ALL experience the feelings above in some form. Despite their fears writers still have to give their words up to the world because it is a part of who they are. If they don't, then just like not taking the chance on giving themselves completely to someone they love they miss the joy and fulfillment that comes with sharing their work.
Below is me being undressed in front of you.

Not always known for his tact, Evan lowered his voice, hoping for a calming tone. "Mallory, sit down and I'll explain." He waited. She perched on the edge of the couch, looking as if she would spring like a pogo stick at any wrong word. "My grandfather's health has been failing over the last few months."
Her soft gasp and look of concern assured him that she would at least listen to what he had to say.
"He asked me to come here and evaluate your progress and decide what needs to be done. I understand that you've invested a great amount of time into this job. I'm just not sure that additional time and money is warranted. You've done wonders with the place, but to be frank, not enough people will spend what it costs to stay here to justify the maintenance costs." He leaned back in his chair. "I tried to make my grandfather understand that years ago."
"That's right, you're that Evan Townsend. Of Townsend Inns." She spoke as if one of his inns would be the last place she would stay.
"Have you ever stayed at one of my hotels?"
"Yes. Once."
He took her tone to mean that once had been enough. "You didn't enjoy your stay?"
"I found it a little sterile for my taste."
"How's that?" Shifting forward, he put his elbows on his desk.
"Same bed in every room, in every town, in every country. Spending the night away should be better or at least equal to your bedroom at home. When people come to stay at Ashley Court it will be an experience to remember, not a feeling of being part of a production line."
"Some people like knowing what to expect in a hotel," Evan said.
"You're right, but others want a relaxing experience. Your grandfather understands that. All of his hotels are that way. I've made it a point to stay in one whenever I travel."

Thoughts on me without my clothes on?

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Sandy Elzie said...


I, like you, feel a cringe deep inside whenever someone else reads my work. I want them to love my characters just as much as I do. Yet, even if they don't, I HAVE to tell the story and I HAVE to share it with others. Otherwise, I'm taking the talent that God gave me and hording it to myself versus sharing it. Don't we always teach our children to share?

Picture yourself naked? I guess I don't go that far. I only feel a little vunerable...guess I at least keep my undies on. (g)

Great post and great writing.


Tami Brothers said...

Great post, Susan!!! I agree that sharing my work is like getting undressed. Except for me, it's like standing naked in front of a high school pep rally. My husband encourages me to take my clothes whenever he can. He accepts all my faults and vulnerabilities. But it is my peers I fear the most. Yet I do it because I want to grow as a writer and eventually step naked in front of the world. (not literally, really... just my books...grin)

Thanks for putting words to this fear. It has been plaguing me for a long time and I didn't quite know how to explain it until now...

I love your blurb and definitely see potential there. I could relate to those sterile hotels and Evan's explanation because those are what my hubby looks for when we travel. Me, I look for comfort and something out of the ordinary. Something that is as much of an adventure as the trip itself. So I would be reading on to see how this story played out.

Great job. You look TERRIFIC naked!!! grin....


Cyrano said...

I think you're gorgeous naked!!
I really enjoyed your blurb. It made me wonder, who are these people, how will they resolve their conflicts and will they end up making love on her hotel bed or his!
As Tami and sandy said, all of us feel that same insecurity. In writing, we not only "get naked," but we bare our souls as well. That's a lot of pressure. But if you hit the weights daily (write) injest a balanced diet (read) and take a brisk walk with a friend (critique) you have nothing to worry about, because you will always look fabulous in the buff!!
Loved the post Susan.
My prayers are always with you.
Have a brilliant day!

Anna Steffl said...

Wow, what a terrific analogy. That's just brilliant!

I really enjoyed the point about people going for the familiar. Sometimes I think that we have so much change going on in our lives, that these chain places are, strangely enough, anchors of comfort to some folks.

I feel much more comfortable sharing my work with writing peers. They are always professional enough to read it and offer helpful comments. The worst is giving it to a friend or family member who expresses interest and then...silence forever more. It becomes the unmentionable bastard child.

PS -- I love your choices of names. Townsend is so impersonal and perfectly describes those cookie cutter hotels at the town's end. Ashley is all comfort!

Susan May said...

Thanks for the remarks. You never know what you will get when you put yourself out there. You make me feel better about my nakedness.

Maxine Davis said...

Fabulous! I loved your post.

Yes, my writing is my private tortue. I want it read; heck, I want it published for the world to read, but I want to hide while someone reads it!

I would love to read the rest of the story; you've got me hooked!

Marilyn Baron said...

Great post and analogy about baring your soul so to speak.

I want to read more too. Do these characters operate competing hotel chains? Or does she work for him? Either way, it sounds like a delicious recipe for conflict.

In my case, the longer you write, the less vulnerable you feel about sharing your work. I used to be thin skinned and now I don't mind sharing my work.

Marilyn Baron

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Great post, Susan--you're ready for Playboy! Seriously, there is a great deal of craft in your scene and a lot of subtle undertones to read between the lines. First, what man isn't going to rankle at the word sterile even if it's supposed to be describing his hotels instead of him. Second, your conflict seems to have a great blend of internal (differing philosophies on hotels, thus life) and external (whether or not she'll get to keep running her hotel. Loved it.

Oh, and I think Tamara has the perfect back cover blurb: "The only question remaining is his bed or hers?"


Cyrano said...

Thanks Sally,
Occasionally I come up with something useful!!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Great post, Susan! Your right, it is a little like standing naked. You're hoping that someone will cover you with compliments before you catch a chill! Or at least with great insights for improvement.

I like this scene you've shared. Can't wait to read the rest. What's your target line?

Nicki Salcedo said...

Susan, we are supposed to be naked before we do it? Hmm. I'll have to ponder that crazy idea.

As for writing, I don't mind exposing myself. I know it isn't easy for most. I think it helps that I think of my writing for me. Not my kids or some editor or agent or my husband. Just for me.

Now if I only thought that way about my body... Are you sure we are supposed to be naked? And in the light?!? You are out of your mind.

Thanks for getting naked with us today! I enjoyed it. Was it good for you?

Linsey Lanier said...

It was good for me, Nicki. :)

Susan, I love your analogy. Very close to what I feel (though not quite like being in front of a high school pep rally) - Will the breath I feel against my skin be hot with desire or icy cold with distaste?

Good excerpt. I liked the tension brewing between these two and would like to read more. And I agree about Tamara's tag line.

Good luck with this manuscript!


Susan May said...

Thanks for all the great comments. It is nice to know that some people can get naked with no trouble.
Nicki-you can do it in your clothes if you want to. The piece comes from "Designs on the Billionaire Boss" my newest job. Mallory is a designer redoing Evan's grandfathers Ashley Court which is an English manor house. The book is targeted at Presents.
I do love the alpha English men.

Ana Aragón said...


Life has been a little crazy around the Doll little girl (19) has mono and strep and has been in the ER more times than I can count. It's nothing like what you're going through with Nick, though, and I have been praying for him and your family.

Now to this getting naked in front of my peers...hhmmmm. Try doing it and writing erotic romance!

I loved your short excerpt. And it's exactly how Mike and I look at hotels. He wants the sterile, I can get to the bathroom in the dark kind of hotel room; I want the claw-foot bathtub, high ceilings and chandeliers.

Thanks so much for getting nekkid with us.