I am the best singer in the universe.
This becomes apparent each time I'm alone in the car like I was this past weekend. Seven hours of round-trip driving for an RWA meeting in Portland, and each of those hours was spent singing along with my iPod in such perfect harmony, the angels were weeping.
It's possible I misunderstood the reason for their tears.
It's also possible I'm not the best singer in the universe. You see, this isn't a theory I'm willing to test. I would sooner remove the skin from my own forearm with a carrot peeler than sing in front of anyone. Deep down, I realize I am most likely tone deaf. I recognize that when the dog leaves the room after I burst into song, she's not doing it because she's deeply moved by my musical talent.
The thing is, I'm perfectly OK living the rest of my life without having my singing ability confirmed or ridiculed by an outside party. I don't need to sing for an audience to enjoy myself immensely on long car rides. If I keep my skills to myself, I can continue to believe for the rest of my life that I might just be fabulously talented.
I've thought about this as I've attended RWA meetings and participated in various online writer forums and realized there are some people who never seem to finish a book. They might go to meetings or join discussions of craft, but they avoid critique groups like herpes and don't seem to feel any real urgency to submit their work to agents or editors.
On one hand, I can respect that. Whether it's shyness or self-preservation, I have to trust that most writers have a sense of when they are and aren't ready to share their work with others.
At the same time, it makes me sad. What if they really are ready? What if the feedback they might gain from sharing with others would be the thing those writers need to catapult them to the next level?
Sadly, I know this isn't the case with me and my singing skills. I can accept the fact that a music career is not in the cards for me, and I believe every stray cat in the neighborhood just breathed a collective sigh of relief that I have no desire to perform outside the confines of my automobile.
Do you have any skill (and I use that term loosely) you prefer to keep to yourself for fear of having your shortcomings revealed? Have you ever felt that way about letting others read your writing? Please share!
And don't worry, I won't be sharing my singing. You can thank me later for that.