So I've made no secret on this blog that my current manuscript hasn't come easy. There are days when it feels so arduous to put words on the page that, well, I simply don't, and that's a real rarity for me. As much as I procrastinate writing, I almost always end up getting it done, so when I just flat-out skip a writing day, well...I need to make a change.
I'm nearly halfway through the ms (yay!), so my agent and I took another spin through it and decided on some small tweaks to improve the overall structure. But I still wasn't satisfied. I felt like I was missing something, something pretty big that could take what I now felt was a three and a half-star book to a five star book. So I asked my editor to take a read through, even though she normally waits until a ms is completed.
And I am so very, very, very glad that I did.
To begin with, she really loved it, which sometimes is what a writer needs to hear. As confident as we can sometimes be in our abilities, there is often a tiny nagging voice of doubt, and given how hard this ms has been for me to write, well, yeah, I heard that voice loud and clear. So I now feel like, yeah, I'm on the right track!
But more importantly, with her objective (and seasoned) set of eyes, she made a few plot suggestions that I think are just what the book needs, taking it from good to great, and in doing so, she's really renewed my enthusiasm to sit down and write the hell out of this thing. These are tweaks that I really do not think I would have come up with on my own, and you know what? That's entirely okay. I think that too often, writers fall into the trap of believing that their job is that of sole creator or that it's an entirely solitary entity. And it's so not. Collaboration can often make you a better writer, or at the very least push you to consider ideas that you might not have come up with on your own. I've long said that I'm the type of writer who can take her ms to certain place and from there, I need fresh eyes to guide me to the next level. And I'm pretty happy that I understand this about myself and my writing. If not, I'd be stuck waddling through this so-so ms that can actually be so much better. It's not as if my editor says, "write this, write that," but she helps guide me and get my creative juices flowing, and that is what the best collaborations or editorial feedback do.
So if you're stuck or just want to expand your ideas, I highly recommend bouncing your ms off a trusted reader. I really do think this can help take your work to the next level.