Another post on gratitude, as Thanksgiving approaches!
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I am blessed to have a family that is very encouraging in my writing. They help me make quiet time to work, they read my pages, they pray for my success. And sometimes, they even help me figure out what happens next.
When I got my last round of feedback from my agent, I was determined to answer all her questions as thoroughly and as quickly as possible. In order to do that, I enlisted two of the people who know me best in the world—my mom and my husband.
Sometimes getting family and friends involved with writing is a bad idea, but these two are gold. They aren’t afraid to tell me when something doesn’t work, and they are great at offering practical advice on how to resolve problems in the text. I think it’s because they know me so well that they can point out when an edit I suggest isn’t going to read the way I intend it to.
I recently sat them both down to talk about my upcoming revision. We made a pot of tea and broke out a box of cookies. I read the feedback I’d received aloud and then mostly took notes while they offered suggestions for how to fill in the holes and up the stakes in my story’s arc.
They had so many good ideas. I am grateful for them, but did start to think that they were writing the story better than I could. Was I still the writer here?
Yet when our session came to an end, they were both grateful that I was the one who was going to input all the changes. The brainstorming was the easy part, they said; making it happen on the page was the real task.
Thankfully, I feel the opposite way! The writing itself is a task I’m excited to complete. I’m learning that if a story is meant to be read by a wide audience, then having more than one mind on a manuscript is not a bad thing. After all, no matter what is suggested, it’s ultimately the author’s decision as to what lands on the page. And with my own private think tank to urge me on, those are decisions I’m happy to make.