It's important to get feedback. That is true for any skill or pastime in which you want to improve. I know these are earth shattering revelations. The kind of insight that keeps you reading these posts. Next week, look forward to my water is wet post.
Feedback in IT circles tends to be immediate, the program either compiles or it doesn’t. The patching worked or it didn’t. Feedback is hardwired into the process. Specifications for a piece of code will come in ahead of time, so it is rare, though sadly not unheard of, for a coder to finish their project and release it to find out it is all wrong. Most of the time you have a very good idea of what you are building, and the computer is the arbiter of success. Feedback is quick and clear.
Writing creatively is a whole other beast. I’m still sitting on the first draft of my first book and will likely not edit it until I’m done with the first draft of book two. I’m confronted with extended periods of little to no external feedback about my writing. I find this very uncomfortable, and it has taken an extreme force of will to avoid descending into a mire of self-doubt. I imagine this is typical for many writers and I understand how quickly you can become self-critical and defeatist.
Hopping into the next book, in many ways, has helped me from brooding over the first. When I finally come back to it with fresh eyes, I will likely change much, but my hope is I’m still positive about the experience. For the moment, I’m still waiting for my primary alpha reader to have time enough to read the short stories I’ve written. I still need to format that using the Shunn specification, which is an exceptionally well-done guide and example all rolled into one. As nice as the guide is, the thought of doing the copy editing is not exciting, so I’ve focused more on the new book as an escape.
Life has been unusually hectic these last two weeks, all for purely mundane reasons, so while I’m glad I’ve added two more chapters to the new book, my wife has had exactly zero free minutes in her day to offer her opinion on my work. Hopefully she can carve out some time this week. I’m eager to see what she thinks of the short stories. Then I will have to force myself to take the time and format the manuscripts for submission.