We’ve all done it. We’ve all met writers at parties or conferences or an event and said “Send me something, I’d love to read your work”. 80% of the time the writer will do it (and the 20% who don’t I’ll talk about later) and it lands in your mailbox and you think – “oh great I’ll read that this weekend”.
Three months later you’re on the loo, or making a cuppa or walking to the station and you think: “Shit! I haven’t read X’s piece yet – must do that”. Then at this point you either forget about it again or consign it to the pile of things I must do that I feel bad about and never get round to.
If you recognise this scenario, now is the moment to resolve not to ask to read people’s stuff again. You’re not a bad person (I’m including myself in all this to be clear – I’ve done it) but if you don’t have time don’t ask, because it can really mess with a writer’s head (I’m talking for all writers here – I know that’s ridiculous so actually scrub that I’m talking about myself). Here’s three things writers (me) might be doing while you are sitting on their script.
- Sending test emails to their best mate to ensure their email is working
- Looking at your twitter/facebook/instagram account to see if you are in the country/still alive/ sending subliminal messages about how much you hate their script
- Feeling 100% sure that you have read it and hated it so much you can’t bring yourself to send any kind of message about it.
Pathetic perhaps but very true. We are delicate beasts us writers – thin skinned to let the world in and not thick skinned enough to keep it out when insecurity strikes.
The 20% of writers who DONT send a script when you ask are probably smart enough to know you are unlikely to find the time to read it and don’t want to open the door to paranoia (as detailed above).
So next time maybe think twice about asking – or when you realise you haven’t read it send a message just to say “I’m busy but nag me” (only if you want to be nagged) or “don’t hold your breath”. Seriously its much nicer than leaving a poor writer spending their time fixating on you. There’s only so many times we can check our email in one day.
Or perhaps us writers (me) should resolve to become one of the 20% and not bother to send work just in case it never gets read…
PS This is not a dig at any one – or a cry for help! Currently I am fairly sure I’m not waiting for anyone to read any of my work 🙂