May 9, 2003

Things have considerably calmed down here at work. I have a new project to work on but it's going to make my job so much better, I'm all for it! If anything can help make the work I've been doing manageable, it should be this program. It was designed with my job duties in mind and should reduce the hours of pouring over classrooms schedules. (Please say a prayer for me. I really NEED this to work.)

As for writing, I've been working on A Secret Well Kept on and off for the last several weeks. I got about a hundred pages into the thing (that would be about 6 completed chapters) and decided it was time for some feedback. Things didn't feel right, although I was more than passing happy with the writing. Yep, strange, I know. But the cold, hard fact is I have faith I can write, it's the storytelling part that gets me. Putting the words together can be a struggle but it's the story that worries me.

Seems I had reason to be concerned. Taking criticism is one of the hardest things a writer can do. It can be painful, especially if the critiquer is honest and forthcoming with all your shortcomings. However, and this is a big however, by listening to your audience, I believe you can learn something valuable. Even if you don't agree with them on everything, you have to respect the fact this is their opinion and they feel the way they do for a reason. After you've had a chance to step back and look at their POV without emotion, you might just find they were right. In a few instances. Maybe more than you had anticipated.

I had a particularly harsh critique done on my BN. It took me nearly a week to recover. However, the person who told it like it was (in their perception) has helped me to make the story better. My changes may not be exactly as she would have done or might have expected but I know without a doubt the story has improved. And I only had to cut three chapters.

So, listen. Determine what are valid problems and what are personal preferences. Make some decisions. And get back to work.