Hi SEers. John with you again today. It is no secret that most of us work in a solitary state when we are working on a story. It is great to have feedback on what we have written. Sadly, it is not always practical to get third-party opinions on all the directions or nuances pursued in your writing. We cannot run to a critic group or beta reader after each writing session. The importance of each session is that together they make up the whole of the work in progress. So, if sessions are going badly, the sum of the sessions will reflect the trouble. Today, I would like to offer a checklist that will give an idea of the quality of the work.
These points won’t take the place of beta readers or critical input. It is more to give the writer a gauge on whether the work is up to the quality standards on a short-term basis. A side benefit to these points is a good feeling that comes from evaluating one’s writing after each session and satisfaction with its quality.
Five Ways to Know You Are Doing Good Work on Each Writing Session
1 The first way to know you are doing good work is to evaluate the satisfaction received from the session. If there is frustration and an overall feeling of dissatisfaction, you can be sure the work is not up to your standards. The reasons could be many, but the important part is that you are not happy with what you’ve done, which will show to your readers. Best to set aside what you have and review it another day.
2 The second way to know you are doing good work is the feeling that you don’t want to stop. We all know stopping will be necessary, but the desire to go on demonstrates an excitement in the work that will be infectious to the reader. You can believe if you stop writing reluctantly, what you have written will be good. Returning to the manuscript the next day has the potential of continuing that feeling for another session.
3 The third way to know is to get emotionally involved with the character situations you are creating. If you feel empathy for the character’s hard times, the possibility that your reader will have the same feeling is very high. Tears shed for a character’s sadness will invoke the kind of emotion with the probability of the reader shedding tears as well. An emotional writing session generally is a good session.
4 The fourth way to know is how quickly the writing time passes. If you are amazed by the time of day and have no idea where the time went, it is sure that what you have written is the best. Getting lost in the manuscript almost guarantees that the result will get the reader lost in it too.
5 The fifth way is to gauge how hard it is to meet your writing goal for the day. If you struggle to meet your plan, you can bet the writing will reflect a struggle as well. This one is perhaps the definitive symptom of a problem with one of the other four. It does provide a quantity reading on how well the session went. If the goal seemed difficult, then a close review of your writing is in order.
I hope understanding how writing sessions are going will help in the overall quality of your work. So let me know in the comments what you think about session evaluations and maybe some ways you have found to gauge your work quality.