This post is approximately 400 words and is the follow-up to a piece I wrote about two years ago: That Time I Shared My Writing #1.
Over the last two years, I’ve shared portions of my book with sixteen ‘trusted readers’. They’ve ranged from family and friends, to coworkers and even one of my wife’s students. Their feedback can be grouped into two categories:
- Positive and rewarding (yay!)
- Radio silence (meh!)
The lack of response is fine. I always tell people that there is no obligation to read or respond. But I do reassure them that they won’t hurt my feelings, regardless. I’ve been a writer long enough that I’ve received feedback of all kinds (note: perhaps a future post will discuss the responses I received when I wrote for a customer complaint department).
I get it. And I won’t get worked up about it. I generally follow-up with a gentle reminder that conveys appreciation and encouragement, but with the reassurance that they have no obligation. I’m usually met with apologies and well-intentioned promises. Some want to take their time and really scrutinize the book so they can provide useful feedback. Or they want to read without distractions. But I also think it sometimes begins to feel like work because they think they have a duty to me. And hey, free time is a precious commodity, right? Sometimes, you just want to relax after a long workday. I’ve had similar thoughts and feelings after people have asked me to read their writings.
Now that I consider it, I might owe a few writers apologies…I’ll catch up over the weekend. Promise!
As you can imagine, however, the positive feedback feels way better. Like, waaaaaaaaaay better. Here’s some I’ve recently received:
“I went into it planning to be critical, but I got caught up in the story and forgot to do that. So I guess that’s a good thing?”
“Tildy feels like a real teenage girl, but without all the clichés, which I love.”
“Chapters 4-6 were just as fun as 1-3. I like how Tildy isnt petulant and mean to the witch. They make a neat team. Glad you haven’t killed off the witch yet. You not going to kill her off are you?”
One of the best feelings in the world comes from someone telling you that they like your creation. So while I really appreciate constructive criticism, sometimes I share just to hear the enjoyment in people’s responses.
When it comes down to it, my trusted readers are doing me a favor. Every offer to read is a precious gift. I’m going to be understanding, gracious, and grateful to every single one of these people. Feels like the right mindset to have, considering I’m writing a story I want readers to enjoy.
Click: That Time I Shared My Writing #1
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© Michael Wallevand, November 2018
Reblogged this on Stow-away Book and commented:
I gave my first two chapters to my dad to critique it and he was amazing! He went through and did grammar, sentence structure and general thoughts on the characters. I honestly thought that he would go over it lightly and not do much and then he went and REALLY went through it. I was not expecting that and I was so grateful to him! GG
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Thanks for the comment and reblog! Writers are so close to their own writing, we cannot objectively edit – whether mechanics or story. We should get as many eyeballs on the project as possible!
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