THURSDAYS (AND EDITING) ARE HARD



For various reasons, Thursday is not my favorite day of the week. One big reason is that you've just gotten over the hump of Wednesday and yet still have a full day to slog through before Friday comes. Ugh. 


In some ways, being edited is like that. We've managed to get over the huge hump of writing a complete manuscript, but now we have to push our way through the process of getting someone else's opinion on it. And that can be one of the most uncomfortable parts of being a writer.


We often use the term constructive criticism to describe what we hope will happen when someone gives us feedback on our work. Unfortunately, what often happens is that we instead get either get pure praise ("This is so great! I loved it") or pure criticism ("Seriously? This thing is awful"). Neither of those is terribly helpful when we're trying to make our writing better, because the would-be editor often can't or won't give us specific reasons for their opinion.


To make matters worse, our natural and learned fear of criticism can make it hard to even seek editing/feedback at all. I remember showing a story of mine to my dad when I was about seven. He read it aloud in a much different way than I'd heard it in my head. Even though he wasn't trying to be critical, I was super embarrassed. I refused to let anyone read my stories for years after that. 


So what can we do to overcome this dread of Thursdays/editing? One trick is to accumulate positive experiences with them to begin balancing out or, eventually, outweighing the negative ones. For example, I attend a religion class on Thursday nights (except tonight--thanks, slippery roads) with an awesome teacher, good friends, and food. 


For editing, you can try one of my promised tips for affordable editing: starting with a friend or family member. Choose someone you already have a strong relationship with (i.e., things won't be ruined if this person doesn't like your story), whose opinion you trust, and who communicates clearly. Explain to this person that you're looking for help to make your writing better. Ask if they'd be willing to read a scene/chapter/other short excerpt from your work and give you their thoughts on what you've done well and what needs work. I say "short excerpt" because you don't want to put too great a burden on someone who's doing you a favor. People also may have an easier time giving you specific feedback if they only have a small chunk of writing to review. 


Once the person has read your work and given you their thoughts, make sure to show your gratitude. Write them a note, bake them cookies, or do some other small act of service as a way of thanking them. You'll strengthen your relationship and get some helpful advice at the same time.


Write on,

Candice


(Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash)

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