March always feels like one of the longest month’s of the year for me. This was especially true when I was teaching. The beginning of March would see us all returning to school after a week long break and the kids (well, yes as a matter of fact, the teachers too) were already chomping at the bit for the April break and the warmth that was promised to follow. In all of that anticipation, March would seem to take forever to get through. Last year I took full advantage of that feeling and created a personal challenge to not write a novel in a month, but finish a novel in a month. I did accomplish that goal last year, and I’m hoping to make March just as productive this year too. 😊
This March I’ll be revising and critiquing. Right now, I’m finishing critiquing my peer critique friend’s manuscript so we can get together to swap this first round and move onto the next round. I am just as anxious to see her feedback and dive into revising that story as I am to get my feedback to her and read her next manuscript! It really is an incredible thing to be trusted with someone else’s writing. I don’t mean physically swapping stories either. I mean any level of sharing writing or ideas behind writing. Someone the other day was asking about what I was writing, and I started explaining a little bit about my story. As I was talking, I felt that nervous, slightly anxious giddiness come up that I always feel when I talk about my stories. It’s the same feeling that, even after almost two years with my peer critique group, still comes up when I share my writing with them, my very trusted group of writing friends. It reminded me of the importance of honoring THAT feeling in this process. And not just in this process with my peer critique partner. In general, it was a good reminder for me. When I get together with my peer critique partner, that will be one of the first things I say; I will thank her for trusting me with her story and being someone I can trust the same way with my own story.
I’m leaving notes embedded in her manuscript and making a list of comments/questions/feedback separately, which is how I revise or critique my own work. With my own paper copy of the manuscript, I do this with highlighters, pens, different sizes of post-it notes, etc. When I do this on the computer, I embed comments and then either have my journal out and write notes there or list them in a separate document. It all depends on the story I’m writing, where it began, and where it lives. It will be interesting to revise the story once I get the feedback from her, because I will have notes electronically, on paper, and notes I’ve taken in a paper journal AND planner. But that is tomorrow’s hurdle. Today’s work is waiting patiently for my attention, and I’m ready to dive in. 😁
Do you share your writing, either through a peer critique group or in casual discussions? What is the hardest thing about that process? What do you find the most helpful in that process?