About a month ago, I finished writing the first draft of my second novel. After that I wrote a short story. Then, I went into editing mode on the first draft which has turned into a major rewrite with brand new scenes that required me to ask for help.
As a writer, one of the most important things to do is continue to improve. It is important to assess our strengths and weaknesses individually but it can also make a world of difference when you have someone you trust read your writing.
For each of the things I have written and worked on recently, I have had in depth conversations with my readers and those I trust about what I could do better. I am always grateful for the intense honesty because I know that without it, I would not be pushing myself the way that I could be.
I drew some very important conclusions from the recent round of critique (specifically related to my novel writing):
As my boyfriend was going through my book with me, I realized that he was mentioning a few things that he mentioned with my first novel as well. This was quite disheartening, probably the most upsetting part of our entire conversation. But what I realized is that I have clearly defined elements of my writing to work on and improve. I can move forward with a clear goal in mind for future editing and new projects.
Knowing what some of my weaknesses are allows me to focus on those pieces while I am writing with a conscious mind. I also know that when I write short stories or blurbs, these are perfect times to practice and grow in these areas.
It took me an entire year to write the first draft of my last novel. For some authors, that is great! But for me, it meant that there were many days, weeks, and months where I wasn’t writing or even thinking about my novel. This resulted in forgotten elements that I had wanted to include, confusion for the reader, and major plot holes.
If you want to write anything, try to be consistent and write as close to every day as possible. I know that life gets in the way and even though I try to write every day, I would be a major liar if I told you I actually followed through with that. BUT! I do think about my writing, or some element of writing, every day that I am not actually writing. These time gaps are something I am improving on and hope to continue improving in the future.
Even though I was being told everything that was wrong with the novel I wrote, I just wanted to get back to my draft and work on fixing it. I take a lot of pride in everything that I write and I want to get better. When I spend my day writing (or editing and planning) it always feels like an accomplished day.
Having this new found energy for something I love has made the editing process enjoyable. I know there are things to fix in my book, but I am not facing it discouraged. I am facing it with pride and energy because I know that I can do better this next time. It also has given me time to think about how my writing appears to readers.
My point in talking about the difficulty of critiques and what I have learned from it is just to encourage you to be open (to a point, you don’t have to go all out if you don’t want to) with your own writing. Share it with people you trust to give you honest feedback and continue to push forward in your own writing journey.
If you have ever been a reader of my writing, know that I appreciate you and cherish all of your feedback.
For my blog readers, I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for my love of writing and your continuing support of my page. Thank you!