When we first start writing, feedback, guidance, and advice are essential. After all, how else would we know what we’re doing wrong? Because it’s quite normal to write our first books and think they’re awesome because we’re high on the excitement of having finished a book. And come on, it’s a big deal! It’s only later, when the high has worn off, that all the suck becomes glaringly and disappointingly clear. Because the first draft is only half the battle.
As you truck along, however, it’s normal to need less and less guidance and advice. But that doesn’t mean you stop getting feedback altogether. Even if you think you got this writing thing licked — lucky you — it’s always helpful to get feedback now and then…if you can find it.
I’ve gotten very good help in the past and I am extremely grateful for it. Because good help is hard to come by. People flake and as a result, too many times I would have no one but myself to rely on if I ever wanted to get anything done. (One of said people who flaked on me, I still talked to every SINGLE day, so I know she wasn’t busy or distressed. But I’m nice. I didn’t bug that butthead.) It’s a frightening thing, being all alone in the writing world with the little book you slaved over. But with this particular book, I learned how to tear my stories apart. I learned how to listen to myself. Because I didn’t have anyone to tell me that my MC was boring as a brick. Or my resolution was rushed and didn’t make sense. Or any host of other problems that
piece of crap lovely little ditty had.
Now, could I have helped myself during this dark time if I hadn’t received such great help in the past? Maybe…But it would have taken me a heck of a lot longer and been a heck of a lot harder. And it was hard enough.
I would have LOVED help. (And believe me I asked for it.) But I’m stronger writer because people flaked on me. (Yeah, I said people. Buttheads.) So nowadays I only jump around for a minute or so when I finish something. And I’m fine with that. I do most of my cheering and running amok when I finish my edits. ^^ I start thinking about what I need to change and what I’m doing wrong almost as soon as I get words on the page. I keep a notebook on my desk and jot down revision notes as I type. (And DUDES lemme tell ya! This makes for a super clean first draft!) I know when I’ve messed up. I know when a character is flat. I know when something is lacking and when I’m tripping over a plot hole. So I don’t stress myself if I can’t find feedback anymore. I have a system that works pretty well for me.
Yay, system! And I love this system. But I screamed (with excitement, mind you) when I won a spot in this month’s Secret Agent Contest on Miss Snark’s Blog. Yeah, I screamed. It’s like I won the lottery, getting feedback is that exciting for me. And to add fantabulous toppings to this feedback sundae: one of the people commenting on your anonymous entry is an agent!!
I can’t believe I get to go into my final read through/edits with feedback from an agent!! The universe doesn’t hate me after all. 🙂
Feel the excitement people. Lol! It’s been so super nice to have some feedback because on my last story, I had none. (That’s right, NADA!) Now, honestly, this is mostly because I didn’t ask for any. I know people who might read something for me if I ask, (I say might because, with my track record, I never know) but I’m not even joking when I say this: peeps are ALWAYS legitimately busy when I have something ready to read. And I just can’t bother people because I’m having an insecurity attack. (I know how this sounds. Don’t try to talk me out of it, I’m a Taurus. ^^)
So yeah, it was great getting feedback without having to pester anyone. Because I hate pestering people. Even if all the feedback ended up being — “OMG, this is SO Awesomefied!” (And I may have put something similar to that in someone’s entry.) — wouldn’t it just be the bee’s knees to have that reassurance? Anywho, go tag the website. I’m told there’s a contest every month and it’s always random, so no getting turned down because you first page is all stinky-like.
I leave you with this random quote, for all those horrible times you need someone and can’t find them (or you’re just crazy, like me, and won’t ask. Lol): “It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.” Be Nike. Just do it. ^_^ (And yeah…I have no Nike brand anything…)