I have to tell you, having this blog makes me feel a little bit like a journalist. I’m always trying to come up with a topic for my “article.” And it has to have a title, and it ahs to be short enough that people won’t despair of getting to the end of it while they’re scrolling down.
Of course, my audience is much smaller than any newspaper or magazine; but I still appreciate you taking the time to read my humble, rambling thoughts. I hope you also know that I LOVE getting comments about what I write, hint hint.
I always like to get feedback on my writing. For one reason, I like to feel connected to my readers, and knowing how people respond helps me to be a better writer. I can only write so much (on one of my twenty ideas) before I make someone read it—usually a member of my family, like my brother Kyle, or my good friend Brianne.
Right now, however, I have a couple of other people reading my “Found Phoebe” manuscript. I want to get all the errors caught and confusing parts clarified before it goes to press with Red Lead. I want it to be the best it can be…and I’ve already been revising it for two years. It’s always different, though, when someone else reads your work.
About a week ago, the pastor of North Park Church came by the house with my dad after lunch. Pastor Hopper mentioned to me that he had read the first chapter of my book online, and that he enjoyed it. He was very encouraging and shared with me some advice from a class he had taken on writing for publication. He told me that his teacher said not to identify too strongly with your writing. Authors who do that have a hard time with criticism because they feel like they themselves are being edited and judged. It’s called “Red Pen Syndrome” or something like that.
I had my first real experience with that (outside of school) earlier this week. A friend of my dad’s is one of the people editing “Phoebe” for me right now. Mr. Lesher sent me the first two parts of “Phoebe” edited in such a way that you can see what was changed as soon as you open the document in word. The changes are marked in red. Naturally. When I opened the document to the first page, all I saw was a mass of red.
Now, I’m not saying that his revisions weren’t helpful; they were. And I really do want my writing to be the best it can be. It’s like…if you watch a craftsman at work—A potter for example, or a glass blower or metal smith. They take a portion of their material, work it, shape it, and the next thing you know thy destroy it. It is a formless blob again and they are starting the process all over. They saw a flaw that needed to be fixed. It would be silly for one of them to let his pride in his talent keep him from making the best objects he can.
In the same way, I know that the kneading and melting processes are necessary for my work to be its best. Is it hard? Heck yeah. But it’s worth it.