It's amazing how a deadline seems like a miniscule dot on the horizon and then you turn around and it's threatening to swallow you whole. I think there is only a week or two until I need to send the ghost story in to a competition, and with time stretched thin, I've done something unthinkable, and let my best friend read it.
The accompanying email was nearly as long as my novel; endless instructions about being honest but not too honest; critical but not to destroy all my confidence and a myriad of other Hugely Important Things to Bear in Mind. Poor friend. I was surprised how my heart clenched up while the cursor hovered over SEND. Poor me. I'm not sure when he'll get back to me, but in the next day or two. It's one thing knowing your work is a dim reflection of what you wanted it to be, but opening the door to someone you know, and letting them judge it is so difficult. I let a good reading buddy from work read a chapter of my novel early on; she was such a star, and her words of (biased) encouragement are what kick-started a germ of hope into a flare of motivation and productivity. Ok, attempts at productivity. She said to me afterwards, though, that she felt uncomfortable reading it, as if she were reading my diary. I know exactly what she meant; that's the reason I hate people I know reading my writing. Even if it's fiction, it comes from the soul. It leaves you vulnerable and exposed.
I'm going to have to grow a thicker skin, I know. Wrap up tight in layers. A bit of unrealistic, unshakeable self-belief wouldn't go amiss either, if only I could find a place that stocks it. And of course, the silly thing is, if he forgets that he's meant to be offering constructive advice, and criticises it, I'll be devastated. But if he forgets his brief and compliments it, I shall resolutely refuse to believe him.