I have realised this week how much I absolutely love getting feedback on my writing. Compliments are nice of course, especially useful for storing up and peeking at when confidence is low, but ideas, advice, opinions – they’re like gold-dust.
I’ve had some incredibly useful feedback this week. Some interesting thoughts about the opening of my novel (if you haven’t seen it then I would love it if you’d take a look), and also a long and detailed email from a novelist friend of my agent who was kind enough to read my second draft.
There’s a sense of pride that bubbles up as I read what people have to say about my writing. It comes from the fact they’ve read it, for a start, which is pretty awesome in itself. But then they’ve thought about it, and applied a critical eye that’s so, so hard to do to something I’ve written myself, and offered up their own ideas about what could make it better.
Even if I don’t agree with everything they say the feedback is still invaluable. It starts a chain reaction in my mind, a network of ‘what ifs’ that cuts through the editor’s block that I find so much more insidious than its first draft counterpart.
I have to admit that after the cautious optimism I felt this time last week I’d actually hit a bit of a wall. I felt overwhelmed by the task of once again picking my manuscript apart, and began to doubt whether I was capable of it.
But then the new wave of feedback came in, and alongside that I was asked to write a post for Faber Academy about why I write, and I remembered that it is all about pushing my comfort zone, about confronting my fears and daring to do it anyway.
And so I will.