Friday, October 9, 2009

Searching for What Isn't Best

I am a stay-at-home mom. However, I must qualify that because I am mostly a stay-at-home mom. As some of you know, I still work a couple times a month as a cardiac nurse on phone triage. (I used that nursing degree to put my husband through school, but now that he's done I am much happier spending my time with him.)

Today, while working, I identified a particular type of patient. (This has to do with writing. I promise.) This is the I'll-keep-trying-til-I-LIKE-what-you-say patient. These are the patients that call back multiple times, hoping to speak to different people until they hear an answer that they like. (Usually one that doesn't involve changing their medications or undergoing a procedure.)

Sometimes they like to go to more than one practice until they find a doctor that will look at the same test results, but say something different...something like, "No, you DON'T need surgery." I mean, who doesn't like that answer?

They are the patients I offer advice to and then they disagree. I have to ask, (to myself, but okay sometimes not to myself) "Why did you call me then?"

Here is my analogy: (Have you figured it out yet?) I am trying to prep myself for criticism. When my book is good enough to be looked at by somebody else (fear and dread) then I need to be prepared to receive feedback I don't like. I need to find the people that will be honest and not just feed me the "answers" I want.

Example of answer I like: "You are the next Stephenie Meyer and Eron is the next Edward."

Example of answer I don't like: "I don't get it."

And I'm excited because I'm part of a writer's group now! (More later.) So girls, you gotta let me know if I my manuscript needs some serious cardiac intervention.

Incidentally, today is a very proud day for me, as I am the first ever to be awarded with the Evil-Eye Award. Kasie. What will she think of next?

Oh yes, and I have given much thought to the whole no-music-in-my-life thing. I think I will try harder to play more music because I know that it lowers my blood pressure, brings peace of mind, and maybe even heightens my creativity. So today I put in one of my husband's CDs while driving with my son. I asked my son if he liked it, and he said, "Mommy, stop talking." I've been Artist-I-don't-know.


  1. It's hard to take feedback, especially when it's not all glowing and warm, which is what my family has done.

    You did a great job reading my book and offering constructive advice. I will try to learn from your example when I get to read yours.

    Congrats on the award, I think that being or having an arch nemesis will be all the rage now.

  2. Honest feedback is the best thing you will ever get. It hurts a little at the time, but you'll end up so much better off because of it. I wish you luck with your crit group!

  3. Too cute about your son! My middle one is the music lover. He's three and as soon as we get in the car he's always like, turn on the music!

    Too cool that you're a smart nurse. I'm in awe. :-) And great analogy. I think you're right.

  4. Patti-It's funny what you say about family. There are certain members of my family that I know will give it glowing reviews. There are other members of my family I know will be brutally honest. I'll try both.

    And thanks for the words of encouragement on my first-ever beta read.

    Susan-You're right. It's funny, but right now I'm even fighting my OWN honest feedback. I have a list of what needs to be done, and sometimes the delusional part of me takes over and says, "Maybe you should just leave it how it is."

    Jessica-Those three year-olds. They say the darndest things. And I enjoy being a nurse. It's fun, and I like helping people. But it had its season in my life. After I'm done raising my family maybe I'll go back to it...or maybe writing will take over the medical side.

  5. Cami-Thanks, that is all very helpful! And I had not thought of becoming a little personally detached from my manuscript before receiving feedback. I hope that I can sort between helpful and non.

    Renee-Is that Doubt Demon? I see what you mean. I think if I had glowing reviews from someone (that wasn't family) I would wonder what they weren't telling me.

  6. Good Luck! I bet your writing group is awesome and gives you helpful advice, as well as falling in love your your book!


  7. The hardest thing about criticism is being able to look at it objectively and decide which ones you think are the right ones to listen to.

    I don't know if it ever gets any easier to hear - or stings less - but it does get easier to accept as you see how much it helps.

    Good luck!

  8. Kathryn-I did hospital nursing before moving to a doctor's office, and I can attest that those 12 hour shifts were made much better by nice patients. You should get a sticker.

    Heidi-Thanks for the advice!

  9. That's so cute about your son! I have a hard time with getting criticism, but it's getting easier and easier the more I get into all of this. Good luck! There's always good news with the bad. :)

  10. It's okay, when my first princess was approximately one, she "shushed" me while I rocked and sang to her. She put her little finger to my lips and said.."shhh" The most humiliating moment in my life, I am pretty sure-a baby telling you to shut up!

    I popped over by way of Heidi's blog to check it out and you have a great blog. I love it :)