Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rely on Others - Trust in Yourself

Something I've learned in the last few months is that other writers often know better than I do. I have an awesome group of writers I turn to frequently to get ideas, opinions, feedback and a good kick in the pants. They are incredible and they each have different things they are better at than anyone else I know.

If I want to work on a certain kind of scene - I talk to one. If I want to work on dialogue - it's a different one. Scenery is yet another and so on.

I used to implement every single suggestion any of them gave me. Sometimes they were fabulous, sometimes they contradicted each other, sometimes I just got befuddled.

This has caused me to rethink the way I edit and take feedback. Every suggestion I get, I think about, mull over and decide whether I agree with it. Often I do, occasionally I don't. I go with my own instincts about the edit no matter what.

Here is my advice for you. Surround yourself with people who have strengths where you have weaknesses. Help them and let them help you. Don't be afraid to rely on their expertise and assistance.

But at the end of the day, it is more important to trust in yourself. You are the defender, protector, promoter and perfecter of your own story. Don't shirk your responsibilities to your characters. Believe in them and in your own ability to tell their story.

Also, make sure you have toothpicks handy to prop your eyes open for those late night edits. ;)

12 comments:

  1. LOL! You're right though. Advice from other writers is precious, but in the end, it's your name on the MS.

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  2. Great post. It takes time to learn how to decipher feedback--to look beyond the suggestions and understand the reasons behind them. The right group is a tremendous benefit.

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  3. LOL about the toothpicks... I value sleep these days. Why aren't there more hours in the day? ;)

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  4. Sometimes I find it hard not to be so suggestible to feedback especially when it's coming from someone more experienced then me.

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  5. Absolutely! Trust yourself. Our instincts are often our best resource.

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  6. The toothpicks kind of give me the shivers. :P

    I like what you said. It's true, as more people review your work, you find the ones that complement you very well. When that happens, you should hold on to them! I've got some great reviewers who see my vision and help me get to where I want to go. I'm very grateful for them.

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  7. Yep. I've been discovering the same thing myself.

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  8. Good post, lady. With a writer/crit group, you learn you can't implement every single suggesion, or you end up with chaos. But when you get the same comment from more than one person...then it's time to listen hard. Trusting thy gut is important too. :)

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  9. I think this is excellent advice for all of life - not just writing!

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  10. Say, hypothetically, you really loathe other writers? What should you do then?

    JK. I simply cannot find other writers in my area and internet relationships are too fleeting. So far I've had to learn everything the hard way (by making repeated, glaring errors), and it doesn't look like there's an end in sight.

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  11. @ Big Plain V - I also haven't been able to find other writers nearby to powwow with. I do have two people who read and love the type of stories I write (fantasy), so I enlisted them as beta readers who serve the same feedback function. They both have analytical minds and are able to articulate what works or doesn't and why, so it's been a huge help in growing as a writer. I'd suggest turning to friends or relatives who you trust to give it to you straight and won't sugarcoat critiques for fear of hurting your feelings. Hope this helps!

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  12. I really appreciate you saying this. I know I try to take into consideration all the advice someone gives me but here and there if I totally don't agree, I trust my own instincts.

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