Pondering the Timing of Feedback

Three more chapters are all that stand between me and finishing this story. I am so excited to see it come to the end and have found my mind wandering to reflections on the process.

I couldn’t help but spend a lot of time reflecting on the timing of feedback on drafts of stories last week. Some of my peer critique members read the first draft of this story and it was a story full of holes and messy as can be. The feedback I received was hugely helpful in helping me see how a reader would take the things I’d put in the draft and tell them back to me. It also helped me question the motives and stakes of my characters and helped me align the truth of the story that I wanted to tell. But, looking back to how the rewrites and revisions have changed the story, made me realize just how much better the story is because of that early feedback. Should I have waited to share the story for feedback until I got to this version? Would I have been able to get the story into this version of itself without the feedback from that first draft? Some of me wants to answer yes, but most of me knows the best answer is no. It’s true that feedback on the first draft of a story is incredibly valuable. It’s also true that the first drafts of a story tend to be the worst version of the story. I needed that feedback to get to where I am now and reflecting on that last week made me even more grateful for those friends who read and gave me feedback. I definitely need to thank them again. And send them chocolate. 🙂

This week I’m going to finish this revision that I’ve been working on since around April of this year. I am so proud of the work I’ve done and so excited to finally cross the finish line with this draft. The last few chapters need about 2,000 new words and I’ve got a pretty good idea of what needs to happen within those chapters and with those words. Once they are written and the current 4,000 words revised, I’m going to print out a copy of the new draft. It’s a huge moment for me to hold a printed version of the words in my hands and one I hold sacred in my process. Then, it will be time to set it aside and celebrate the work I’ve done. Celebrating the goal I’ve accomplished, which is usually a night with my favorite beverage, snack, and TV show or movie, is also a really important part of my process. If I didn’t stop and take a moment to celebrate before rolling into the next project, I wouldn’t be showing myself how much value my work holds. That’s something that if I don’t practice now, before my writing and I go further along in this journey, could undermine the confidence I need to work through the hard days. Three more chapters and that moment can happen.

In case you haven’t been told today, you are more than enough.

Happy Writing!

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