What I Can’t Show You

I’ve got a lot of secret knitting going on. I’ve finished a baby present, but I can’t show you yet. I’m making good progress on my sister’s project bag, but I can’t show you that either. I frogged my light gray mesh scarf and restarted it with fewer stitches and bigger needles, but I don’t have enough knit to make it worth taking a photo. Lots of knitting, but no proof!

What I can share is that I pulled up my memoir manuscript the other day and started reading through it. I was pleasantly surprised: it’s much closer to being “done” than I remembered. I made it about halfway through and was really only making minor changes. The not so pleasant part: now I’m convinced it’s terrible and boring and no one could ever possibly find it interesting. The cycles of writing, right? I think I’ve just reached a point where I need to find an unbiased reader to tell me what’s working and what’s not. So I’ll plow through the second half and figure out where to go from there. All you other writers out there, where/how do you find a good beta reader or critique partner?

Until I figure that out, it’s back to the couch I go with my little big furry friends. I’ll do some proofreading, a bit of knitting. I’ve discovered Gilmore Girls, which I’ve never seen before, and I’m loving it. It’s fabulous knitting TV. The husband’s not a fan, though, so I’ll try to keep it to daytime bingeing. These two don’t complain! IMG_2176

13 thoughts on “What I Can’t Show You

  1. Looking forward to the reveals. Finding good crit can be a real challenge – i’d look for more than one crit too as people’s opinions can be very varied. Crit groups can be good, but are a real mixed bag. You could join a class to see if you can find a likeminded person – again hit and miss, but at least you should get several opinions and tutor input on at least some of your work. I’ve seen plenty of memoir classes, so hopefully you can find one of these. You might be able to find a writers festival where agents and publishers give short 1-2-1, yet again though opinions will vary, but you’ll get some feedback and they’ll ask to see more if they like it. Beware though, even professionals can give poor or even distressing/confidence shattering critiques. My number one piece of advice would be tread very carefully, get to know people first, if you can, before you trust them with anything precious.

    • Thanks, Bekki! That’s all great feedback. I like the idea of getting more than one opinion. I’ve read of writing festivals but boy, that sounds scary right now! I’ve done some querying before and can’t imagine trying to sell my book in person in 15 seconds or whatever it is. 🙂 But it would definitely be a great future step. And I agree with getting to know them too–I think most people can tell when they’ve found someone like-minded, and I’d love to find a reader I click with.

      • Not sure how things go in the US but in the UK we have 1-2-1s that aren’t about pitching, but getting feedback. A lot of people go expecting to get the person they’re seeing to take their book on, but most of the time they get feedback to work on and possibly make a contact who will look at it again when they’ve redrafted.

      • That’s great! I’ll have to do some more research on that one. I confess, I’ve been lazy on everything that happens *after* the writing part, so I’ve got a bit of work ahead of me. I love that I have people like you to give pointers!

  2. Have you heard of Critique Circle? It’s really useful, though usually for fiction. I’m not sure if there’s somewhere for memoirs.

    • I hadn’t! Thanks for pointing it out. I took a brief look but I’ll need to do some more digging around in there. Do you use it? Any caveats I should watch out for?

      • It’s confusing to use at first, but I’d say the best tip is to review a lot of other people’s too. It’s interesting and gains points so you can post more of your own.

  3. Love your shares on this and the feedback everyone has given. I haven’t written my book yet. And I know I’m going to want to have it critiqued when the time comes. but I hadn’t thought about where to look for something like that. I’ll have to be sure to check in and see what you’re doing by the time I get there. Of course I’ve got to write first. 😉

    • I’ll probably have thrown it in the trash because it’s drivel. Haha, ok, maybe not, but right now I’m scared to have someone unbiased read it. I’ve gotten good feedback, but those readers are either related to me or friends. Now I have to do the scary part. Thankfully I’ve got a few options to research thanks to these other comments. Definitely check in once you’re writing–I know I’d love to read it! I really enjoy everything you write.

      • Oh gosh, thanks for the kind words! 🙂 I do miss writing every day. Or even more frequently. Working on that. On my way to talk to the university about financial aid for my daughter this a.m.. Wish me luck!

      • Yes, I had a long time of no writing before I started this blog, and I love having the outlet. Over the years, somehow I’ve accumulated three completed manuscripts (including the memoir). Apparently I like the writing more than the “what comes next” part. And definitely good luck on the financial aid! I’ll be in that boat too in a couple of short years.

      • Well, nothing is like it was when I went to school, I can tell you that. Unsure how things went. Seems they believe their digital decisions are final. The fact that everything is online now makes a lot of it confusing and inflexible.

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