Ready or Not?


Today is the first Wednesday of the month:  Insecure Writer's Support Group blog! The IWSG is a safe place for writers to express their fears and insecurities in a supportive environment. Join us at  www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com And don't forget to sign up for the IWSG Newsletter - it's filled with great advice written by writers for writers.  

This month's IWSG Reflective Question: When do you know your story is ready?

Another thought provoking question from the IWSG this month and a difficult one to answer. Are we ever 100% sure that a story is ready? I always ask myself: have I written the story to the best of my ability? Once I can honestly answer ‘yes’ then it’s time to get another opinion and call on my critique group.

Critique groups are great because they can point out things that the writer has missed – maybe there’s a flaw in the storyline or a surplus character that detracts from the story. Once I’ve gained different perspectives, I’ll make any necessary adjustments, go through my editing process again, read it out-loud, let it rest for a day or two and then give it a final read through before submitting.

During the publication process of my short story collection, I went one step further and asked 12 willing friends, with different backgrounds and careers, to read through each story and give me their honest opinion. This worked really well and the feedback helped me to make each story the best it could be. I was also reminded that I have some amazing friends – so grateful.

My main insecurity this month: Feeling overwhelmed
 
My biggest insecurity this month has been tackling the rewrites of my novel. I let it rest a couple of months after I received the report and notes from my editor and now that I’ve started working on it, I’m a bit overwhelmed. But soldier on I will. I just want to get it done and finished so I can start my next big project! (Two years is long enough!)


Thanks to all for another superb and extremely helpful IWSG Newsletter. Great job!

Comments

  1. Editing the novel is a task that seems never ending. Every time I send edits back, I start to think of thinks I could have changed. Sometimes we just have to let go and bid it a fond farewell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we have to train ourselves to stop the thinking process when we reach a certain point and let it fly.

      Delete
  2. That's wonderful you had so many friends who were willing to help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am very grateful and I appreciated their honesty.

      Delete
  3. Tackle those edits one at a time - I bet by the time you really dig in you'll be feeling less overwhelmed and more empowered.

    Honest critique partners are the very best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nicki. One at a time, it is from now on.

      Delete
  4. Input from others is always helpful! Sometimes we've been working on something so long we can no longer see what's wrong. It's good to have some fresh eyes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, fresh eyes are good. I'm not very good at fresh eyes - it doesn't matter how long I leave something, I still have every word, sentence, chapter in my head. Don't know how to overcome that, yet.

      Delete
  5. I LOVE my critique group, but I kinda think using critique partners one on one is more effective. (Having done both.) They're both great, that's just my preference. But then, the process also takes longer, so...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luckily, I allowed for plenty of time.

      Delete
    2. Again, that's the only way to do it.

      Delete
  6. I remember being overwhelmed the first few times I received edits from my publisher. But it does get easier and now I actually enjoy it. Good luck with the rewrites.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for showing me a glimmer of hope - I look forward to those easier times :)

      Delete
  7. Just take it a chapter at a time, or an issue at a time. You can do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Alex.

      Delete
  8. I don't think we ever are 100% sure. There does come a time when we just have to believe and let our stories go.

    Good luck with your rewrites! Take it one step at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Being overwhelmed. Yeah. I get that! And yet we must press on. It will come eventually. I remember so many times I've felt like I should just kill all my characters off and be done with the edits. Yet, I love them. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will press on :) Thanks for popping by Donna.

      Delete
  10. Great questions to ask yourself, and I totally agree critique partners are such big helps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christine. Lovely to see you!

      Delete
  11. Input from friendly, honest eyes is so helpful. But doing those edits/revisions is still the hardest part for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm finding it hard too, Bish. But it's the first time for me and so realistically, I'm bound to be overwhelmed. Still, I will soldier on. I'm determined to break through the wall.

      Delete
  12. Good luck, Nicola. You have done a lot and I sincerely hope it pays off quickly for you.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Pat. Hope life is treating you kindly.

      Delete
  13. Casting a wider net of readers is an excellent idea. And may I join you in the "overwhelmed" club?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are always welcome, Lee! I'll put the wine on ice :)

      Delete
    2. Back for that wine! I've got cheese and crackers. Hope you're less overwhelmed this week. Take care.

      Delete
    3. YUMMY!! Thank you, Lee. You can come anytime :)

      Delete
  14. You have to give it a rest between rewrites, I finf it's far more productive to do that rather than circle right back into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's rested well, before its screams could no longer be locked away :)

      Delete
  15. I'm with you, Nicola. I'm overwhelmed, so much so that I forgot to answer the question this month. I guess it's an ongoing issue. Thanks for visiting. Thanks for your support!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep the faith, Joylene. Sending you lots of positive energy through the ether. Thank you for popoping by. It's always lovely to see you.

      Delete
  16. I totally agree that friends and readers are super important, and like you I am a bit overwhelmed with my current revision. It's a doozy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good to know we are not alone :) Thanks for popping over Marcy. Lovely to see you.

      Delete
  17. Nice that you had a variety of readers to gleam wisdom from Nicola. Keep working and writing hard. But remember to slip in some fun and relaxation time in there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will do, Sheena. With Halloween coming along, there's a little bit of fun planned :)

      Delete
  18. It's amazing what a little time away from your manuscript can do for your perspective. And crit partners are the greatest, aren't they? good luck with the revisions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ken! Trusted critique partners are 'golden'. Have a great week.

      Delete
  19. I love that you found 12 awesome friends who helped with your book! Best wishes with your revisions!

    ReplyDelete
  20. It was a good idea to let it rest for a while - your subconscious will have been working on it even if you weren't aware. I hope the rewrite goes well :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mind hasn't shut off! It's exhausting :) Thank you for the words of encouragment, Teresa.

      Delete
  21. You have some great friends. One chapter at a time is how you'll get it done and if that still feels overwhelming - one paragraph at a time will get to you 'The End'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your words of wisdom, Joy. Much appreciated.

      Delete
  22. You are fortunate to have so many readers! That kind of feedback is priceless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is :) Thanks for stopping by Tamara.

      Delete
  23. Rewrites can be the pits can't they? Sometimes it feels like they never will end.
    Here's wishing you and your muse a pleasant and productive rest of the week.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I rely on my critique partners too. Their feedback helps me to see what works and what isn't working.

    It's wonderful you have so many friends to read your work. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been fortunate enough to meet some great people throughout my teaching career :)

      Delete
  25. It's great to have that much feedback. I bet it's a lot easier to know when a story is "ready" when you have a good number of people to beta read it for you :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Like you, I wouldn't dare submit without feedback. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I have done that - submitted without feedback :) I quickly learned :)

      Delete
  27. Critique groups are brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I like your twelve willing friends idea. I wish I could dare to do it. I have yet to let a friend read my work. My readers are people I know through writing. I think I'm rather afraid my friends will hate my work. Then what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't be afraid. My dearest friend (actually my ex-boss and a literary expert) read mine and yes I handed it over with gritted teeth but you know what?..it was the best feedback I got and no she didn't like everything but she was honest and open which helped me to make it better. I did. And she loved it. Take the plunge, Liza. It'll be worth it.

      Delete
  29. I've heard the "have someone else read it" answer a lot today. Agreed. That's a great way to tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It wasn't easy handing over my work at first but it gets easier and now I just throw it out there and see what comes back :)

      Delete
  30. Helpful feedback is priceless.
    Best wishes for your rewrites. I know how you feel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynda. Best of luck with your new release :)

      Delete
  31. Opening your story up to others to read is scary but a great way to get the feedback we need to make our work the best it can be. As writers we are often too close to see the full picture. It sounds like you have some great friends to assist you. I can relate to your feelings of being over whelmed, just keep on going and you will get there I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your words of encouragment, Suzanne. I really appreciate it. My editor has given me a few pointers to help ease the way :)

      Delete
  32. It's so helpful to have trustworthy feedback and my writing improved once I felt able to let others read it and give me their honest opinions. Sometimes the comments and suggestions are hard to swallow, but once you start digesting them, they can lead to a positive breakthrough and following on from that, the confidence to decide the story is finally ready. Wishing you all the very best with your rewrites, Nicola. Lovely post. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joanna. I'll let you know when the breakthrough happens :)

      Delete
  33. Interesting post, Nicola - I guess we just have to send our work out after doing the best we can. All the best with the rewriting!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Good luck with your re-writes.
    Feedback is priceless, although you have to go with your gut instinct sometimes and choose to ignore some of it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not quite confident enough yet to go with my gut and its not making a big enough noise to make me pay attention. I look forward to those times :) Thanks so much for stopping by, Angela.

      Delete
  35. Great idea to have 12 different friends read your short story collection. It's good to get several perspectives. Take all the edits in small chunks. I'm sure it's overwhelming to look at the big picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Small chunks it is. Thanks Mary. Have a super month.

      Delete
  36. Man, I hear you on overwhelmed! I seem to be in a constant state these days. Best of luck with your editing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hart! And thanks for popping over to visit. Have a lovely week.

      Delete
  37. Tackling rewrites? Ugh. You're wise to let it sit for a time. Not too long, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enough time has passed by. It's out glaring at me and ready to be put back together again :) Hope all is well with you, Diane.

      Delete
  38. Hi Nicola - great takes here .. your friends and then the 'two years is long enough' - time to start a new project - bet you're brimming with ideas. Expect that once you're back into your book - the editor's comments will make sense ... all the best and cheers - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your words of encouragment, Hilary. Hope life is treating you kindly. Take care.

      Delete
  39. Page by page is how you will get those edits done. Best of luck with it. By the way, you won a prize for your comment on Elizabeth's blog. Check your email!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roland. AND thank you very much for the prize. Started listening already. Many congratulations!

      Delete
  40. Excellent post. I love belonging to a wonderful writers group that keeps me on my toes. Without their input, I would never had a published book. Now go tackle that MS and get it out there for us to enjoy!
    JQ Rose

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your words of support and encouragement JQ. Means a lot.

      Delete
  41. If you are a perfectionist, it's never ready! Your method, getting input and letting it go when it's the best you can do, not necessarily some arbitrary definition of perfect, is excellent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfectionism has been a hindrance since childhood but I'm learning to let go a bit more now that I'm maturing :)

      Delete
  42. Critique partners are awesome! Edits can be very overwhelming. Maybe pick on thing on the list to change and focus on it. Breaking up the edits can help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your words of wisdom Cherie. Much appreciated.

      Delete
  43. Keep pushing yourself on those rewrites...you'll thank yourself when you're done! :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love the beginning of a project and the finish, but sometimes the in between gets to be too much. LOL I'm never done, even after they are published. :)
    Editor's are so, so helpful! Some of my favorite people!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Yolanda. All I can say to you is that the books I've finished by Yolanda Renée were most definitely 'ready'. Loved them. You're a brilliant writer :)

      Delete
  45. It can be overwhelming to start with edits. My best advice is to take one thing at a time. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  46. I think that it was a brilliant idea to ask 12 willing friends, with different backgrounds and careers, to read through each story.
    Such a diverse amount of feedback would definitely enrich the stories. Really smart move!
    I'm sure you'll tackle those rewrites with gusto. Just go for it! You have what it takes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your encouragment, Michelle!

      Delete
  47. Day at a time. Page at a time.
    It will get done.
    Best of luck!
    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm never 100% sure that my story is ready. Best of luck for the rewrites.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I can understand feeling overwhelmed, but little by little you'll get the edits done and what a great feeling it's going to be when it's finished. Stay strong and onto the next pot of coffee! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Elise. Coffee's flowing :)

      Delete
  50. Good for you for using CPs, betas, and an editor. Feedback helps even if you don't necessarily take all of it. Keep soldiering on in your novel rewrite and you'll get there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lexa. Congrats on your new release!

      Delete
  51. I feel overwhelmed a lot too. And the less I do about it, the more overwhelmed I feel.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said, Arlee. The actual 'doing' is the only way to get rid of the feeling.

      Delete
  52. I totally hear you on trusting CPs. They help so much.

    I hope you're getting a handle on everything and your overwhelming tasks become more manageable. (Sorry I'm so late!)

    ReplyDelete
  53. I can totally understand feeling overwhelmed. Just take it one chapter at a time and you'll get there!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I wrote my L1014 space adventure 10 years ago and had the good sense to realize it was a complete disaster - so I called it quits. Even today, when I think about it, I still have a niggling regret. I know I was on to something and the fact that my little book made it to a high ranking among scholarly articles in Google , (despite being total rubbish) thrilled the socks off me. Dumb luck I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can always revisit the book and give it a once over and then re-publish. Thanks so much for popping by.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Hello! So pleased you've popped by. I love to read your comments, so do leave one - even if it's just to say 'hi'!