There is no other way of putting this: it is incredibly scary, but invaluable. I asked for feedback from a few friends who read romances and from my writers’ group, who didn’t. It was largely an uncomfortable process, but I learned a huge amount from going through it; my novel has benefited indescribably.Whilst I know that I need to swallow the ‘constructive’ feedback and learn from it, I can at times react like a child by stamping my foot and wanting to throw my pen and writing career, such as it is, out of the window. Fortunately the grown-up lurking deep within me gives the child within a stern talking to, telling me to ‘man-up’.
Positive feedback? My advice: bask in it 🙂 Beth, my son’s girlfriend, has to be my biggest fan, along with Ann, my lovely friend of 30 years (who is also my confirmed muse!). After Beth read ‘Never Again’, she told me it was the best book she had ever read. I floated up with the clouds for days after that!
I did worry that the novel would no longer be ‘mine’ if so many different people input their ideas into it. I wondered how could I call myself a ‘writer’ if I hadn’t produced every single word by myself. But that is just a load of rubbish that my head tells me. I mean, agents and publishers have editors, for good reason.
What I learned was to was work my way methodically through the feedback. I could decide, with each suggestion, whether or not I agreed with the change. It was empowering to make these decisions rather than knee-jerk acting on every suggested change thinking that they must know best . . . I had to remember that it was still my novel!