On feedback

Feedback is awesome. It is fabulous. It is invaluable.

I’m a good editor when it comes to other people’s work. I can see what they missed, what they didn’t make clear, what they spelled incorrectly. (I’m one of those annoying people who points out typos in restaurant menus.) When it comes to my own work … not so much. I know what I meant to say. I have the pictures in my head. But that doesn’t mean I’m translating the pictures properly. I need another reader to tell me how to improve things.

I’ve never been so precious about my work that I thought every word was perfect just the way it was. Nobody gets to think that. In fact I think the writers who take that attitude are more likely to be bad writers, because they’ll never be open to improvement. The best writers I’ve ever known were always willing to listen to advice, to try revising a piece to make it better. That’s the attitude I try to emulate.

So once I finished my latest children’s book manuscript, the thing I most wanted to do was bring it to my writers group. They had some good suggestions for tweaking it. But they also liked the story, and that meant a lot. It’s nice to have that backup.

My little home focus group also liked the story, but they prefer the stories they think are about them. I suspect my home focus group of bias.


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