Writing groups are great. Critique partners are essential. Beta readers help point out errors before publication. Editors make your prose beautiful. Reviewers help get your book attention. But do you know what they all have in common? You, the writer.
The writing community is extremely important to a writer, but you must always remember, when it comes to your story, it’s really only you.
You dream it, you imagine it, you stew over it, you plot it, you write it, you revise it, you read it, you edit it, you do it all. I know what you’re thinking, “duh!” But I think many writers forget it from time to time.
I have been through two rounds of editing, beta reading, etc. with two separate stories. Everyone involved only wanted the best story, MY best story. They gave suggestions, had questions, pointed out mistakes, corrected grammar, and more. But along the way, I would get swept up in the the suggestions and remarks and have several different reactions. I would, without thinking, change my story to fit their comments, have hurt feelings, get mad and want to throw my computer out the window, or I’d momentarily give it all up.
What I learned the hard way is that it’s YOUR story. Only you know what’s best for it. Other people may help drag out that best, but it’s still yours. Only you can tell that story. It’s important to remember that. Always listen to suggestions and comments, but do what you deem tells your best story.
Even in a community as big as the writing community, you’re still only one person and your story is only yours to tell. Don’t lose yourself in the large party.
Happy writing! ~Jen