We’re talking feedback today. Those daunting, extensive edit letters that usually start with praise, then dive into everything that isn’t working in your story.
In the past I’ve said good feeback usually stings– the knee-jerk pain is your brain fighting the realization that the criticism is valid (ouch.) And for me, it generally comes with a healthy dash of “I don’t know how to fix this, I’m totally screwed and this book will never get published.” Thankfully, it always passes and I get back to work.
Today I’m going to amend my previous statements a bit, though. After all, in the past when I got feedback on manuscripts, I’d been plugging away at those stories for months or years. They weren’t set in stone, not at all, but the manuscripts felt solid-ish in my brain. So, getting feedback that nudged me to make major changes felt like being ordered to sprint while standing knee-deep in quicksand. Yanking myself out of what I had created in order to shape it into something else was overwhelming, even when I could see that the feedback was spot on!
Plus, my writer ego was fragile, and critique of my work sometimes felt like a critique of my ability. And these things are not the same, friends. Not at all!
With my newest WIP, my writer ego is much stronger, for one thing, and this manuscript is still so… squishy. Getting feedback this time around is completely different AND I LIKE IT!
I always joke about “crowd-sourcing” a novel, and it sort of feels like that. I plonked down 75k words, tossed it out to CPs and my wonderful mentor, and now I get to sit back and absorb their notes and feedback and suggestions and I’M SO EXCITED to see what happens when all of that feedback gells and this story morphs into something bigger and better.
Plus, I know I can this time. I know I can write. I know I can revise. I know I can take a book from a mortifying first draft to a novel I am proud of. I may not have secured representation yet, but I’ve had enough positive feedback from agents to believe that I can.
In this industry, believing you can do it is step one. Step two, write the thing. Step three, find CPs you trust. I’m so thankful I found mine.