Chaucer recorded this proverb in 1386. It means knowing someone or something intimately exposes its flaws. I am starting to feel that way about my story. I’m hoping this confession is cathartic, giving me strength to keep writing.
My first draft was brilliant (in my mind). Then I started editing. A painful process that felt a bit like pulling my heart out of my chest. Using tweezers. Through my eye socket. Tiny bleeding piece by tiny bleeding piece.
Then the beta readers. Accolades and praise mostly. Constructive feedback. More editing.
Another rewrite. Then another. And another.
Today, as I edit, I hate every chapter. Every sentence. Every word. Every fucking letter.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
I don’t know if this is a healthy place to be at or a dangerous plan. Does every artist grow to loathe their ineptitude? Or have a polished this story past my own veneer to the point that I see the pressed board underneath.
I don’t know if I’ll ever publish this post. I guess that reticence represents a spark of hope that I think this book is still worth reading. I’d hate to throw this confession out into the sea of the anonymous faces hiding behind the internet, salivating at the weak, waiting to pounce, drawing faux strength from reinforcing one’s own self doubt.
Maybe I will. Maybe my own self doubt will encourage someone to keep writing past their own fears.
If you are reading this, you know my decision.