As much as I complain about how mind-numbing editing and re-writing can be, I actually do really enjoy the writing process. Although banging out that first draft is definitely my favourite part of writing, the subsequent months/years of editing can be quite fun, and it’s all worth it when you get to sit down and read your finished, polished, wonderful story.
But there’s one part of writing I absolutely cannot stand. And that part, my friends, is waiting for beta readers to read the manuscript.
It drives me crazy! Working for months and months to produce a piece of writing you think is finally ready for other human eyes to see, sending it off to a select few … and then waiting and waiting and waiting for them to respond with their critiques. Obviously, I’m incredibly appreciative that they’re bothering to read my story at all, and I recognize that reading an unpolished manuscript is time-consuming. But I want to get their suggestions and get started on revising now, dammit!
The obvious solution is, of course, to impose a time limit on the beta reading process. Except that doesn’t work, because my elite beta reading team knows that I value their opinions, and that I will wait as long as necessary to receive said opinions. Curse my dependency! Curse it!
I need another strategy! Any suggestions on how to increase beta reader reading time / productivity? Any suggestions on how to keep my sanity whilst waiting for the critiques to return? Any suggestions on how to deal with people at festival booths who ramble on about astronomy for thirty minutes and scare off potential customers while you smile and nod and wish they would go away?
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I think we all have a stage of the process that makes us crazy. Why not write something new while you wait for the feedback? I seem to remember you telling me about a short story you’ve been thinking of publishing?? Why not polish it up and shop it around? Having more than one project in the works will take you mind off the current novel revisions. Then when the beta readers are finished, you can attack revisions with a really clear, objective head! Good luck, and keep your blog readers posted. 😉