When writing, I’m private about my work. Even though it eventually goes out into the world in a book or an article, if someone walks into the room while I’m writing, I’ll put my computer to sleep or shut my laptop. While working on my first novel, however, I recognized and accepted the need for feedback along the way. I didn’t want to invest months creating a book that wouldn’t appeal to the reader.

Although I haven’t found a critique partner, my husband and a friend from church are my first readers, sharing their observations as I write. I place new chapters in an old black binder, trading them back and forth on Sundays with my friend, or emailing them as an ePub file to our Kindle for my husband to read.

My friend annotates the pages before passing them back. If she says something’s corny, I strike a sentence with no regrets. If she marks a passage as “confusing,” I rewrite it for clarity. If she draws a smiley face or underlines a phrase and writes, “Love this!” I mentally high-five myself.

She once explained she hadn’t left notes on a chapter because she was caught up in the story, reading fast to see what would happen next. That made my day.

I receive my friend’s suggestions well and eagerly apply them to my work.

It seems, however, I respond less favorably to my husband’s criticism.

I’m not sure why. Maybe I see myself as the documenter and him as the doer, and question whether he can know more than me in my field. I would never correct the way he organizes a spreadsheet (he’s a master), changes the brakes in our cars, or mows the lawn. I should respect his suggestions as a reader, but I get defensive.

Please join me at (in)courage for the rest of the article!

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