This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
~William W Purkey
Some Writers add:
Write like nobody will read it.
“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”
~Margaret Atwood from The Blind Assassin
To get better we have to let go, share our truths, then seek out feedback
Sometimes I wonder which is worse.
It’s no wonder as writers we feel fragile.
Feedback is huge
Yet the best advice I can offer any new writer is be sure to listen to your support team. Put the hurt feelings away and mope later. If you want your work out there, it’s got to be the best you can do. Let your beta readers point out flaws, perk new ideas and help you discover your blind spots.
Once you’ve done this a few times you’ll know your weaknesses. From there you can make lists for self editing, ask specific questions and dive in deeper for more self discoveries.
The trick to improving is being open to any and all feedback.
Use it or toss it
That doesn’t mean incorporating every suggestion into your work. It means considering each suggestion and asking if it will improve your project. Not all feedback will and your source of feedback already understands that only you know where the story needs to go.
In my case, I’m always surprised when someone finds a plot hole after I’ve fussed over my narration for hours. I’m blinded because I know the stuff that is not on the page. That’s the trap.
When reading for other writers
And here we go again with writing the truth.
To keep it from becoming an attack, I’m very specific about what I share. I call myself a reader and focus only on the words in front of me. If I don’t usually read the genre, then I focus away from that aspect, knowing another reader will offer feedback on genre. I zero in on structure, characters, dialogue, style, and immediate impressions. I strive for only one thing and that is to improve the work in front of me.