How Pink Eye Saved the Day #IWSG

Welcome to the July 2017  meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group, a time to vent your writerly frustrations and/or offer encouragement. July 27 is the #IWSGPit event, so get ready to pitch your completed & polished manuscripts. Get the details here.

It's going to be a great opportunity for writers, and I hope you all get marvelous leads from it. I myself have nothing to pitch. You see, to have a new completed & polished manuscript, one needs to actually sit down and pound out some new words first.

But don't worry. That's not a lame attempt at an answer to this month's optional IWSG question:

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Step away and take a deep breath. That's my answer. It can be useful at many different stages during the writing (and publishing) process, but today I specifically apply it to that moment when you receive feedback from your editor.

If you're like me, your first instinct is to go on the defensive. By the time we've handed our work off to the editor, we've rewritten, tweaked, and polished that baby until it's perfect. How dare they stroll on in there and start tearing things apart, especially when they don't know our characters or understand the intricacies of our plot as intimately as we do?

And that's just it - they see it for what's on the page, not what's in our minds. If something in the story catches them up, chances are it will also catch up other readers. I know this. You know this. We all know this, but that doesn't change my gut reaction.

When I received a strong suggestion from my publisher to rewrite the ending of my second novel, oh boy, was I resistant. My head boiled with a whole slew of reasons why the ending they asked for was ridiculous, impossible, and so wrong, wrong, wrong for the story!

But I didn't have time to type out my heated response right then. My daughter had a possible case of pink eye, and we had to get to the doctor. So I stepped away from the keyboard, and a funny thing happened on the way to the clinic...during the drive, I started thinking about how maybe, possibly, I could work out the ending they'd asked for. In the waiting room, I thrashed through ideas for making it happen in a way that would be true to the characters and story. By the time we got home, I realized that yeah, this rewrite was worth trying.

The response I sent to the publisher was much different than the one I'd have punched out if I hadn't had to leave right then. That opportunity to step away and take a deep breath was exactly what I'd needed.

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!