Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Challenge - not jumping the gun - or how I learned to receive feedback and do nothing for a bit...

I'm starting to get feed-back from my first readers. I have two manuscripts out there - The Rock Walker and True. I began True before The Rock Walker but I finished RW first. But not by much. Both of them are both neck and neck at this point - out to first readers.
The Rock Walker is with three readers, True is with four. I think that's right.  I live with one of my first readers and I came home the other day and saw that he'd begun True - I pretended I didn't notice the box of manuscript on the couch beside him. I did. I was that freaked out. I put my stuff away and then came and MOVED the box so I could sit next to him. He made the smallest of laughs, knowing my heart and mind that well. He told me he was loving the book, loving my writing and any quibbles he had so far were picayune and would be caught in the copy edit. I breathed out. My soul allowed itself to go to the edges of my physical body and a bit beyond it instead of huddling around my back-bone, shivering and shuddering away in the cold of self-abjection. Now it came out and stretched in the sunshine, made purring sounds, padded around the house. He hasn't finished it though so I will undoubtedly go through this a zillion times. The thing is that Ron is INCAPABLE of lying. Simply incapable. It took me a long time but I found a guy like my Dad who won't put frills on it despite loving the hell out of me. That is gold for me.

I went to town yesterday and my closest friend, Kerol, who is also reading True told me she was loving it and had TALKED to Ron about how much she was loving it with him.  My sister, Jude, had already dived in and given me some love about it. The fourth I haven't heard from but I will soon.
This morning I got an email from the Tartlette who is reading RW. It was immensely helpful and also full of positive strokes. I immediately wanted to dive back into the manuscript and start making changes. And so finally, dear readers, we come to this week's challenge.

Friday Challenge - At some point with any creative endeavor it is the exact time to do nothing. Yes. Do nothing. I need to hear from all my readers of the RW and True - I need to give them the second set of questions and wait until they answer those - I think the Tartlette actually already did that because she's a reader/writer so she knew what they might be and went ahead and addressed them.  This is the time to remember that I want to ACT when it is time and not REACT early. I want to absorb what people are saying and let it mull about in my brain pan.  I want to carefully consider everything that is said - see which things are being said by more than one reader - check out how I feel about each of the suggestions unless they belong in the no-brainer box in which case I still want to do nothing for a bit. NOTHING. Just be a rock in the stream.

a picture of rocks in a stream near here - don't you want a dress made of it?

I realize that this might not be the most timely of advice for you all - everyone is at different stages with their craft and projects...so the challenge is to contemplate the period of doing nothing and see how you typically act with it. If you've been through several of those - how were you? Could you do nothing better than you have? If you aren't at the do nothing stage yet what is your intuition on how well you will do nothing? For those of you who have given birth or attended births remember the stage called 'transition' where you are to do nothing even though you feel like doing everything - that is this stage. The thing isn't quite born but it is awfully close - pushing now is an intuitive feeling that needs to be calmed down with lots of panting. No exertion. Rock in stream.
Let me know what you think. Your comments help me shape my posts!

18 comments:

Liza said...
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Jan Morrison said...
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Jan Morrison said...

Oh Elspeth - I totally get you. And of course what I mean is doing nothing on the project at this point - I'm still doing things - why I just finished my first ever knit fingerless gloves! In fact I'm writing with them on my hands right now. Soon I'll take the dog out into the snowy universe. The kids are home because they got sent home early BECAUSE it is snowing. In January. In Nova Scotia. How scary is that?

niamh said...
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Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...
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Jodi R. said...
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Paul Greci said...
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Hart Johnson said...
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Talli Roland said...

I admire your patience! I think it's best to sit back and be a rock in a stream when you're getting feedback, to let you see it objectively.

Jan Morrison said...
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Helen Ginger said...
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L. Diane Wolfe said...
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Jan Morrison said...
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Tabitha Bird said...
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