Be Careful What You Ask For

Somewhere around the beginning of February, we finished the final draft of our book and sent it to a number of friends, family and acquaintances for feedback. We had been working on it for two years. A large part of the book was written in initial form on this blog. Much revising had been done, and the rest of the story had been told. Daniel joined the process as our editor, and we all worked hard to get the book to a place where we could actually call it a final draft.

Robin and I both learned that, even though we have many people in our respective lives who love and support us, not many of those people consistently kept reading the blog. Why not? Because everyone is very busy. Jobs, kids, household tasks, activities, health crises and vacations caused most of our support network to eventually stop reading.

I learned quickly after starting the blog not to ask anyone whether they were reading it. Often it would lead to an awkward pause, followed by a legitimate list of things that reminded me that the blog was a much more important focus in my life than it was in the lives of my friends or family members. I decided to let people tell me if they were actually reading. Some did. But most, did not. I do not blame them…we all have busy lives.

Many people kept reading until we took a long break surrounding my mother-in-law’s illness and death during the summer of 2014, and then never got back to it when we started posting again. When those people asked me about it, I told them not to go back to reading it because we would need people we trusted to read the final draft and give us feedback. Some people remained loyal readers until we stopped using the blog as the means with which to tell the story. But, that was almost a year ago!

It was important to have people we trusted read the final draft and give feedback. We asked them to be honest with us about their thoughts, since our goal is to make the book as good as possible. The old saying “be careful what you ask for, because you might get it,” applies in this case.

Let’s just say I am completely grateful to the people who read our book and have been honest with us about their reactions. We got some enormously helpful feedback from a number people. Some of the feedback was consistently stated from many readers, like the chapters are too long and there are parts that become repetitious. Sometimes, specific feedback about content came from just one person but felt completely right and will be incorporated as we make changes. The outcome, is that there are major revisions we need to do.

This is all part of the process. Robin and I both remain clear that this book needs to be completed and published. We have no idea what will happen once it is done, but I don’t think that even matters. There has been a lot of learning and growing, and connecting with people just as a result of the process of writing it. We will continue the process until the book is complete. I will keep everyone updated.

Robin continues to be stable and content with her life. I continue to recover from the injuries I sustained in a car accident in December 2015, and await my first follow-up cystoscopy in April to determine whether I remain bladder cancer free. I will be working on posting to my new blog, while revising the book. Stay tuned.

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About Sharon DeVinney, Ph.D.

Sharon DeVinney, Ph.D. completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Purdue University. She spent ten years doing full-time clinical practice at a community mental health center with primarily adults. She then spent eight years working as an administrator at that same community mental health center while continuing to maintain a small caseload of therapy clients. She now provides clinical services in long-term care facilities in addition to writing and spending as much time as possible with the people she loves.
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20 Responses to Be Careful What You Ask For

  1. Dawn D says:

    Glad you are getting feedback, and that it is helping in making your final product as good as it can be.
    I’m sure it must be daunting to face that much work again, when you thought you were done. But… I’m sure it’s worth it 🙂
    Also hoping that the results of your next cystoscopy are good.
    XO

    • Thanks Dawn! It’s not daunting. I look at it as part of the process. And, the feedback feels right. We need to trust it, and the process. Hope you are doing well…sorry I haven’t read your blog lately. I’ll be back. 🙂

      • Dawn D says:

        Don’t worry! I know you will, when time allows. I have a little bit of time at the moment, not too many things waiting to be done and not too many people to share the free time with, so I write and I read 🙂
        You have a lot to do, so reading isn’t a priority! My blog isn’t going anywhere, so you’ll get to read in your own time 🙂

  2. Julie Simmons says:

    “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” — Greg Anderson

  3. The concept of the book is beautiful. Soon enough, all the pieces will find their place . . . and I’ll be grabbing it for my next read 🙂 Best of health to you both!

  4. muslimah says:

    I like reading your blog it makes me feel less alone , Glad you got help and healing for your illness, it seems that for my illness there isn’t much that can be done , as I can’t find a medication that works and counseling seems to just make me feel 100 times worse.
    Glad you finished your book good job

  5. Aden Ng says:

    I think the phrase “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Is often underrated. Because the journey is where you learn the most, experience it all, and share with the people you meet on the way. Good luck with your book, I’m really rooting for you two.

  6. dyane says:

    You got such great, insightful, interesting comments here, Sharon, and of course I’m paying very close attention to all of them! 😉

    The line “It was important to have people we trusted read the final draft and give feedback.” is exactly how I feel. I’m going to be very careful about who I ask to read the first draft – I haven’t gotten to final draft yet – gulp!

    I *love* reading your updates. You’ve been wonderfully supportive to me, and I’ll be there to toot your book’s horn when the time comes! (You have my solemn promise in writing in several places! 🙂

    take care, sending you a (((big hug)))!
    Dyane

    • Thanks, Dyane. I will definitely take you up on your offer to “toot the book’s horn,” since by then you will be completely famous! 🙂 And, you may have plenty of other people, but I will happily volunteer to be a reader if you need me to be…no pressure.

  7. Let me know if you are looking for a little extra book promotion Sharon! All the best with the book! That is exciting!

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