February 25, 2013

American Idol & Writing: ROW80 Update

I am so grateful for parents who always pushed me to do better. If I brought home a 95 on a test, my parents often asked where I could improve. Not that they didn't congratulate me, because they did. They just didn't blow smoke and chant about their perfect kid.

As a parent, it's so much easier to jump up and down around your kid and tell them how awesome they are. My kids are awesome, and I tell them. But I also make sure to let them know how they can be even better, and I make sure and support their efforts to do so. I never strive to change who they are, just make them better versions of themselves.

After all, what good does it do to be the mom of that kid who shrieks out a song at the American Idol auditions and then cries when the judges tell them the honest truth... they can't sing. Inevitably, the kids says, "But my mama and daddy said I was the best singer ever!" Okay, that's an extreme. But some kids might make it with a few voice lessons or a different song choice. 

What does this have to do with writing?

I not only can take constructive criticism about my work, but I long for it. It's not that I don't have confidence in my abilities. I do. But, I also truly believe that everything can improve with good input. 

My NaNo novel, Chasing Memories, will soon be in the hands of my editor. I know she'll help me make this book better. It's like adding chocolate chips to my great-grandmother's banana bread recipe. A small change, a huge impact! (Yes, I can bring most things back around to sugar.)

Chasing Memories is a real departure for me. Although my character in Depression Cookies was a young adult, this is my first real attempt at the young adult genre. Plus, I'm writing this one in third person. Again, something new.

I can't wait to dive into this book and get it out there to face, yes, more criticism. But I can take it, especially since I know the edits, and ultimately input from beta readers, will make for a much better book. And I'm excited! Does constructive criticism and peer input make you nervous or get you pumped up?

It's Monday, and time for my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update...

Writing: Working on my Depression Cookies follow-up. Two chapters are done and ready to send off to Mom for her response. I've got a bit of a scene to flesh out, something is simply not working, and then they are off. My goal is to have them to Mom by Wednesday.

Editing: I'm applying some of the editor's comments about my Prologue and Chapter 1 to the rest of the book. I plan to be done editing by Friday. Wish me luck, because I know there are some holes to fill.

Blogging: I'm keeping with my MWF schedule nicely so far. March begins a 15-day Winter Author Blog Challenge and then April will bring A to Z. Check out both challenges. I've met some amazing people doing both, and they've only helped me as a writer and blogger.

Social Media: Doing better about getting around to other people's blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter messages without letting it be such a time suck.

Reading: Lots lately! My Beautiful Creatures review is up today, and I have three more books I need to review.


Shan Jeniah Burton said...

I tell my children, "Practice makes better."

I think too many people say "perfect", and kids get the wrong idea.

None of us are great at everything, but I've noticed that my kids (and their parents) gravitate toward putting lots of effort into things they have particular talent in.

I like well-considered criticism. I've been getting more, as I have been submitting, and I think they are wonderful. I rewrote one flash piece, and I think it has inspired a whole collection, maybe even a novel.

That's a lot of goodness coming from a single observation that I had killed someone off with no warning, giving the vibe that I had cheated...

It sounds like you're in a productive place, and a happy one. May it stay that way, or get even better! =)

Jo Michaels said...

Productivity is awesome. I love having my books read by my peers and getting honest feedback. I enjoy hearing the pros/cons/and uglies :)

I encourage my kids on a daily basis to be more. It seems to have only stuck with a couple of them though. Ah well, three out of five ain't bad! :)

I look forward to getting hold of the rest of your book. WRITE ON!