Critiques, Conversations and Archiving Feedback

After I spent time last week digging through paper and digital files, looking through notebooks and papers, I realized I needed to be smarter about how I was archiving feedback. I paused from my revisions to work on an archiving system I hope to really lean into and follow moving forward.

Not only did I want this new system to work for feedback I receive from fellow writers and trusted beta readers, but also for my own notes. I am a paper person as much as a digital person, which means my brain needs the tactile experience of writing notes as much as typing notes when I work. What I use depends on what I’m doing, what exercises I’m participating in, and where I’m working. Sometimes that looks like brain-dumping in a journal and inadvertently stumbling on an answer to a writing question that’s been buzzing in the back of my brain. Other times it looks like working through a revision online and taking notes directly in a document. What I’ve decided to do moving forward is keep everything in folders, which will work for both things. Any random papers or paper feedback will go into folders in my filing cabinet and all of my digital files will be corralled into a folder on my computer. I pulled apart my files and reorganized them to make sure that everything from each project is all in the same place and the same for my computer. It should make the process of revising easier as I move forward, which is really good, because of some of the choices I made this week regarding upcoming revisions.

Much as I have been steadily doing work on this revision of MS:TS, it has been a struggle to get my workflow to anything beyond a trickle. My motivation has floundered more times than I can count and I’ve needed to drag myself along this process. It’s not like me and I’ve really struggled with why this has been so hard. I had a great conversation with a writer friend last week and found myself talking suddenly about MS:SB, a manuscript I had finished revising awhile ago, and how much I love it. In our conversation I decided to ask if he’d give me some feedback on it, which he graciously agreed to do. After we ended our conversation and I sent the draft along, I decided to get more feedback on it and reached out to a few other trusted beta readers. Something about just that simple act made me excited when I then thought about working on MS:TS this coming week. It made me wonder if I’ve reached the stage of my work where now that I have manuscripts out that I’m querying for representation while I’m revising, and am not simply working to finish stories, that I need to be less rigid about staying in one story. That my work will ramp up to a steady flow when I am working on my catalogue of stories and looking at the whole of the portfolio I’ve built of myself as a writer. It feels like a truth to write that, like it’s the words I’ve been searching for and haven’t quite been able to say. I think what this means moving forward is that while I am revising a manuscript, I will also be managing feedback on other manuscripts and I won’t box myself in the ‘you’re not going to think about or work on something else until you’re done this project’ mindset that I did before. I’m not at that stage anymore and maybe pulling myself out of it will help me with all the things that capture my motivation and keep me moving forward. Maybe. I’m hopeful to see how this next week goes while I adopt this new mindset.

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

With you words, Nikole

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