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If You're Courageous Enough to Read my Work...

Writing a short story, picture book or novel is a challenge in itself, but revising and editing are another monster. It probably takes me three times as long to edit and revise my work as it does to write it. I am both excited and frustrated by this process. I suppose this is the case for most writers, especially for those of us who are just starting out. When I think I'm done with a piece, I have my husband read it. He will gladly correct my typos and grammar, but he is hesitant when I ask him how I can make a piece better. It's great, he'll say. Of course he is being supportive, but it is not particularly helpful. I'm okay with criticism (about my writing) and although I've made this clear, he feels his role is to make me feel good about my work.

I am writing a manuscript for a picture book, and the editing process is extensive. Writing for children is great fun, but it is limiting. Vocabulary and sentence structure need to fit the audience without going over their heads or patronizing them. I must have re-read my story a hundred times. I know it by heart, and I am unlikely to pick up on my own shortcomings. So, I was glad when my older sister offered to read my work and give me feedback. I love it, Lea she told me. Then, we went through it together and she pointed out what needed improvement. As she went through it, she apologized. She too felt her criticisms would be taken as insult. I guess it takes a certain courage to be the critic. I assured her I was so grateful she was taking the time to help me, because I did need the help. I'm not done yet, but I think the story is much better than before she read it. For anyone courageous enough to put themselves in the position of critic, it is an invaluable presence you have in the process of writing. Thank you!


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