There’s a certain sort of writer that I’ve met a lot of over the years: I’ll call her Angela.
Writing means a lot to Angela. She considers it a form of high art: an expression of her true nature. She keeps her writing secret for a long time and when she finally lets her friend Beverly read it she’s reduced to tears when Beverly suggests that it might need a little revision.
Angela still has confidence in her work, and after much thought she decides that the problem lies with Beverly, for making such hurtful comments. Beverly has to be wrong, Angela insists: especially when Angela discovers Caroline’s writing group where everyone tells her how wonderful her work is.
So when Angela starts to submit her work to professional markets and gets form rejections (or, worse still, rejections which tell her that she’s just not good enough), she knows who to believe: her friends from Caroline’s writing group who have told her, over and over, that mistakes don’t matter, and that unknowns never get published unless they’ve got connections.
The one thing Angela never hears from her friends at Caroline’s writing group is that her work isn’t good enough. Which is a shame: because if she understood that she might put the effort into improving it, and eventually get it published.