My beta readers were due to send edits back to me on April 15th. For all you writers out there, you know how nerve-wracking that is. I mean, a project you have spent months–or in many cases years–or in my case ten years–on and you finally sent it out into a cold, cruel world who didn’t see it grow up from an infant into the mature adult it is now and might not appreciate it the way it deserves. Or, you know, might see it without rose-colored sunglasses and choose to tell you about it so that you can better it.
I heard back from three of my readers, which is overall a pretty good percentage! Over 50%! Especially since I know most people only send it to one or two beta readers. What can I say? I’m thorough. And as each overall feedback came in, I made myself sit and read it because otherwise I knew I’d just be wondering what it said until I did read it, and finally, this week, I actually started going through the document comments themselves. Yes, I do realize it is a full ten days from when they were due, and, yes, I was procrastinating. Turtling, as my husband calls it. Granted, a lot of that was because of the insane amount of social interaction I’ve had this month (I think I might need an introvert retreat. A cozy cabin or cottage with no internet service and just a pile of books), but there was definitely a good dose of not wanting to face the rest of the critiques, no matter how useful they might be.
As I told my husband on Friday, I need to start a comic line about beta readers vs authors, showing interpretations. Like this:
And on that note – Hannah Brencher once again called me out on Monday. Through her newsletter, but sometimes, I swear, I think she’s watching me. Her second line in her Monday email was: “I’ve been avoiding the work I know I need to do because it takes more courage than other tasks.”
Imagine me, blinking owlishly at the screen.
But that’s not enough. No. She had to keep going, and call out the fact that I’ve been filling any extra time I have with what she calls–or the podcast she was listening to calls–cotton candy tasks. But the part that really got me was this:
“I wish I could be the one to tell us all that this is okay, that we can keep doing these little tasks until we die. Unfortunately, we were made for deeper work than this. And I can’t tell you what that deeper work is, but you know it already. You likely know the nagging in your heart that wants you to propel deeper into that thing– be it writing, creating, running, dancing, or studying.”
And honestly, that little line in there about being made for deeper work resonated so much with me that I actually started. Yup. Monday afternoon, I started slogging through the manuscripts. And, as painful as some comments are, ultimately they will make this a better product, and a better representation of our God, and that’s what we are here for, after all, isn’t it?
2 thoughts on “Turtle Mode”
The moments between receiving the feedback and actually reading the feedback are really intense. If you see the email but don’t have time to look at it right away–talk about adrenaline. Schrodinger’s beta feedback is pretty hair raising.
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Right? The heart palpitations and nausea are enough to set off alarms.